It has been 12 years since Rajasthan Royals won the inaugural edition of the Indian Premier League with a group of Indian youngsters led by an Australian maestro, Shane Warne. Since then, they never quite reached that level of success, but their core policy remained the same- to focus on Indian young talents. This time also they have a few relatively unknown faces for the Indian Under-19 team and a few big overseas names including Steve Smith and Ben Stokes to provide the balance.
Steve Smith, Mahipal Lomror, Manan Vohra, Riyan Parag, Robin Uthappa, David Miller, Ankit Rajpoot, Mayank Markande, Jofra Archer, Shreyas Gopal, Varun Aaron, Jaydev Unadkat, Kartik Tyagi, Akash Singh, Oshane Thomas, Andrew Tye, Ben Stokes, Rahul Tewatia, Shashank Singh, Yashasvi Jaiswal, Anirudha Joshi, Tom Curran, Jos Buttler, Sanju Samson, Anuj Rawat
The core of Royal’s overseas talents is from England and Australia. Steve Smith, Ben Stokes, Jos Buttler, and Jofra Archer are their four preferred foreigners. However, all these players along with Tom Curran and Andrew Tye will be missing the first few matches due to the ongoing limited-over series between England and Australia. Ben Stokes may miss the entire IPL as he is taking a break due to personal reasons. Their new signing David Miller can be a replacement for Stokes and could be the only overseas players available for the first few matches.
This is also the reason for their Indian players to fire. Jaydev Unadkat will be the captain in the absence of Smith and will lead the bowling pack along with Varun Aaron and Ankit Rajpoot. Karthik Tyagi and Akash Singh, the two fast bowlers from the Indian Under-19 team are also exciting prospects and should play at some stage. In the spin-friendly conditions of UAE, their spin bowling attack will be primarily dependent on ever-consistent Shreyas Gopal and Mayank Markande. The new signing Robin Uthappa will provide a very good experience for a young batting line up consisting of high-rated youngsters like Yashasvi Jaiswal and Riyan Parag. This will be the 8th season for Sanju Samson and lot more will be expected from him as he is now considered as a key member for the Royals set up.
Possible first XI
Jos Buttler, Robin Uthappa/Yashasvi Jaiswal, Steve Smith, Sanju Samson, Ben Stokes/David Miller, Riyan Parag, Shreyas Gopal, Jofra Archer, Jaydev Unadkat, Mayank Markande, Ankit Rajpoot.