IPL-7 on it’s way, taking a look at Rajasthan Royals

IPL-7 on it’s way, taking a look at Rajasthan Royals

Shane Watson will take over from Rahul Dravid as new skipper of Royals in IPL7
Shane Watson will take over from Rahul Dravid as new skipper of Royals in IPL7

At 110 million US Dollars, the IPL franchisee based in Jaipur was the least expensive of the 8 initial teams and was also the one with least expectations. As the Royals gave a scintillating performance in the inaugural IPL, Bollywood diva Shilpa Shetty and her current husband Raj Kundra bought significant amount of shares of this franchisees. They have gone through several tumultuous times in their 6-year old stay and have gone through major overhauls in the team composition. Cricket Tracker brings you a detailed preview with IPL-7 just round the corner:

Performances so far in the IPL: With almost no stalwarts and match winners during the first season of the IPL, legendary leggie Shane Warne had a tough job at hand. But call it a miracle or the result of least expectations, Rajasthan rode on Shane Watson,Swapnil Asnodhkar,Yusuf Pathan and Ravindra Jadeja’s exceptional performances to win the coveted trophy defying all odds with disdain. Warnie,created history with a set of young talents,many of whom are their nation’s heart throbs at the moment. The next four seasons weren’t quite fruitful for the team as it failed to reach the knock-outs for four consecutive seasons. Rahul Dravid was roped in,when Shane Warne refused to continue playing in the reauction that took place after the 3rd season. The last season saw the likes of Rahane,Samson,Watson and Cooper make a difference as the Royals made their second play-offs appearance before losing to Mumbai.

Season | Place

2008 – Champions

2009 – Group Stage

2010 – Group Stage

2011 – Group Stage

2012 – Group Stage

2013 – 3rd place

Strengths: This team looks really well-balanced this season with Rahul Dravid making his mark at this year’s auction. With 5 players retained, Royals just needed to build a team that could revolve around these fab five. Watson,Rahane,Binny and Samson form a dangerous looking top order with Faulkner,Hodge and Nayar ready to provide firepower in the death overs. Kevon Cooper,Dhawal Kulkarni and Watson can do the job of bamboozling any batting line-up on their day.(also read IPL: The game of numbers)

Weaknesses: This team lacks regular frontline bowlers and a quality spinner that might prove costly in the first phase of the IPL-7 to be held in UAE. Kevon Cooper’s variations might be handy while Watson and Rajat Bhatia might chip in,their quota economically in some matches but expecting these bowlers to win you matches can surely prove costly. Shane Watson’s stint as an IPL captain is a question,still to be answered.

Sanju Samson another exciting talent to watch out for in IPL7
Sanju Samson another exciting talent to watch out for in IPL7

X-Factors:

Shane Watson– This Australian all-rounder reinvented himself with this team in 2008 under Shane Warne and this year, will be a new test for him as he will try to lead the same franchisee to glory.

Ajinkya Rahane: This talented young Indian lad has spoken volumes of his talent under Dravid’s leadership and guidance in the past 2 IPL seasons. His run scoring rate has been phenomenal and Royals were the team that helped him groove into a better cricketer before he broke into the Indian cricket team as a regular player.

Kevon Cooper: This West Indian is considered a t20 specialist and the statistics surely suggest him as one of the main reasons for Royals almost going all the way last season. His form is gonna be a significant factor for Royals to do well this time,too.

Stuart Binny: An all-rounder who got his real IPL breakthrough under Dravid for the Royals. His form and performances in the last 2 IPL seasons has been one of the main reasons for him,being picked in the Indian squad regularly. His ability to slog and chip in, valuable overs in the middle make him,one of the biggest exponents for Watson to use.(also read Top 10 players to watch out for in IPL7)

Team Squad:

Batsman: Brad Hodge, Ajinkya Rahane,Karun Nair and Unmukt Chand

Bowlers: Dhawal Kulkarni,Ben Cutting,Iqbal Abdullah, Amit Mishra, Ankit Sharma, Vikramjeet Malik, Pravin Tambe,Deepak Hooda,Kane Richardson and Tim Southee

All-Rounders: Shane Watson,Kevon Cooper, James Faulkner, Rajat Bhatia, Abhishek Nayar and Stuart Binny

Wicket-keepers: Ankush Bains,Sanju Samson and Dishant Yagnik

Cricket Tracker Says: Rajasthan Royals have a great line-up from the top to the bottom this time around. As they are known to unearth talents, the performances of Unmukt Chand and Deepak Hooda will be the ones to watch out for. If the less-famed bowling with its variety can complement its famed batting well enough, another IPL trophy looks quite realistic for this team but with quality spinners lacking, the UAE part of IPL-7 might be tough for the pink-city sweethearts.(also read KKR team preview)