Rajasthan Royals is one team that has consistently scored above the other teams throughout the six editions of IPL. They won the inaugural edition in 2008 under the mercurial leadership of Aussie legend Shane Warne and since then they have remained a potential threat to every team. Though they missed the knockout stages of the next 4 seasons by marginal points, they finally pulled their act together in IPL 6 and reached the qualifier stages under the leadership of Rahul Dravid.
It is often mentioned that RR has built a highly competitive team on a shoe string budget. The credit for that must go to the foundation laid by the team management back in 2008 when a bunch of youngsters was teamed up with some experienced heads along with Shane Warne at the helm. That tradition has continued under Rahul Dravid and even today RR is considered as a team that can challenge any other team in the competition with panache.
Samuel Badree, Stuart Binny, Kumar Boresa, Kevon Cooper, Fidel Edwards, James Faulkner, Shreevats Goswami, Harmeet Singh, Brad Hodge, Brad Hogg, Vikramjeet Malik, Ashok Meneria, Kusal Perera, Akinkya Rahane, Sachin Baby, Sanju Samson, Owais Shah, Rahul Shukla, Shaun Tait, Pravin Tambe, Siddharth Trivedi, Shane Watson, Dishant Yagnik.
The squad boasts of some of the biggest names in cricket.For instance there are experienced professionals like Rahul Dravid and Brad Hodge on one hand and on the other hand there are promising young talents like Ajinkya Rahane and Kevon Cooper. Overall it can be said that it is a well balanced team and has most areas covered. Maybe this is why seeing the Royals in action on the field is always filled with oodles of entertainment , excitement and thrill.
Rahul Dravid was possibly one of the coolest captains out there and in the electrifying world of T20 cricket such an influence is worth a million bucks for any team. Dravid carried on from where Warne left off and that wass displayed in his tendency to give the younger and talented members of the squad like Stuart Binny, Kevon Cooper a chance. Additionally, even an unheralded 41 year old club cricketer from Mumbai Pravin Tmabe got a chance to show his skills since Dravid noticed something in hisoff spin bowling. Moreover, Dravid displayed a tendency to be unorthodox which has taken his opponents by surprise many a time in IPL 6. After his retirement from competitive cricket on October 7, 2013, Shane Watson is said to be next in line for captaincy.
One of the biggest strengths of the squad is the sort of firepower that they possess with the likes of Shane Watson, Ajinkya Rahane and Owais Shah providing a solid trio of clinical hitters. On the other hand, Rahul Dravid provides the much needed stability that every team needs in a T20 game if there is a sudden loss of wickets. In addition to that Brad Hodge and Stuart Binny provide the backbone to the lower middle order and have helped them finish many games when all seemed lost. In the bowling department, the group of swing bowlers in Siddharth Trivedi, Kevon Cooper and Shane Watson provide the sort of variety that every team wants to possess.
A noticeable chink in the armour is the absence of a top quality spinner in the squad and although RR does have Brad Hogg, it can be said that he is well past it at this point in time. Shaun Tait has been a disappointment so far and it would do no harm if he was replaced him with a more controlled fast bowler. The void that was left after the retirement of Shane Warne has not really been filled up yet and if there is one area that the team must strengthen then it should be that of a specialist spinner’s slot.
By Soham Samaddar