But this time, the Royals are looking to put their best foot forward under the leadership of Australian Steve Smith to rewrite the history books.
RECORD SO FAR
Royals, who finished second last ahead of RCB on a better run rate last season, will be looking to exorcise their demons and start afresh in the upcoming 13th edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL) to be staged in the UAE starting September 19.
The 2019 season was a big disappointment for Royals as they registered only 5 wins, lost 8 with one match ending as a no result. They also had to change their captain from Ajinkya Rahane to Steve Smith midway through the tournament due to their poor performances.
The Royals, overall have won more matches than they have lost, winning 75 and losing 70.
This time they have a new captain in Smith and also a new coach in Andrew McDonald.
Royals, who bought 11 players in the auction last year, retained Smith, Jofra Archer, Jos Buttler, Shreyas Gopal, Ben Stokes and Sanju Samson while Rahane was traded to Delhi Capitals for Mayank Markande and Rahul Tewatia.
With Stokes, Buttler, Samson Archer and Gopal already in their ranks, the Royals under the leadership of Smith will certainly look to stage a stunning comeback in the new season.
The overseas players also include David Miller, Tom Curran, Andrew Tye and Oshane Thomas.
STAR FOREIGN BATTING TALENT – The likes of David Miller, Steve Smith, Jos Buttler and Ben Stokes can win matches single-handedly
South African Miller will be playing for Royals after spending eight years with Kings XI Punjab. Miller played only eight games for KXIP over the 2017 and 2018 seasons and last year he played 10, scoring 213 runs with a strike rate of 129.87.
OTHER BATSMEN WHO CAN FIRE – In Sanju Samson, Under-19 star Yashasvi Jaiswal and veteran Robin Uthappa the Royals also have other batting talent who can be match winners.
MANY INDIAN BOWLING OPTIONS – The Royals have multiple Indian bowling options this season. The likes of Jaydev Unadkat, Ankit Rajpoot, Varun Aaron, Mayank Markande, Kartik Tyagi and left arm pacer Akash Singh give Smith and the Royals think tank multiple bowling options.
STAR FOREIGN BOWLING OPTIONS – In Andrew Tye, Jofra Archer, Tom Curran and Oshane Thomas the Royals have four foreign bowlers who can turn the match on its head on their day.
SHANE WARNE’S DUAL ROLE – Legendary spinner Shane Warne has been appointed mentor of Royals ahead of the 13th edition of the IPL besides his existing role as the team’s brand ambassador. As a ‘Team Mentor’, Warne will work alongside head coach Andrew McDonald. The two former cricketers were teammates in Victoria from 2003-07.
The last minute addition of Warne, who led Royals to IPL glory way back in 2008, shows the intensity of the franchise who are leaving no stone unturned to make a mark in the tournament.
Shots fired. 🔥 #HallaBol | #RoyalsFamily https://t.co/kFqcxRgolU
— Rajasthan Royals (@rajasthanroyals) 1600149469000
WILL STOKES BE AVAILABLE TO PLAY? The biggest challenge is the fact that there is still no clarity on the availability of Ben Stokes as to when he will join the team. He is currently in New Zealand due to his father’s ill health.
The Royals might also miss the services of Smith, Archer and Buttler in the first few matches as the English and Australian players might have to undergo quarantine after reaching the UAE post their limited overs series in the UK. However, since they will be travelling from one bio secure bubble to another the quarantine period might be waived off.
FILLING FOREIGN PLAYER SLOTS – Lots of foreign players in the ranks could pose a problem for the Royals. In all probability Smith, Stokes, Archer and Buttler will take the maximum four foreigners slots in the playing XI. Will the others really get a chance? This is provided Stokes is available to play.
RAJASTHAN ROYALS FULL SQUAD:
David Miller, Manan Vohra, Riyan Parag, Robin Uthappa, Shashank Singh, Steven Smith, Yashasvi Jaiswal, Ben Stokes, Mahipal Lomror, Shreyas Gopal, Tom Curran, Anuj Rawat, Jos Buttler, Sanju Samson, Akash Singh, Andrew Tye, Aniruddha Joshi, Ankit Rajpoot, Jaydev Unadkat, Jofra Archer, Kartik Tyagi, Mayank Markande, Oshane Thomas, Rahul Tewatia, Varun Aaron