Rajasthan Royals enter IPL 2020 as one of the weakest teams on paper. They are heavily dependent on their overseas contingent of Steven Smith, Jofra Archer and Jos Buttler, without whom the unit lacks experience and glamour.
However, they have managed to assemble a strong bunch of Indian youngsters, who will be looking to impress with their talent and their abilities on the big stage. The team has not been able to win a title since 2008 and last entered the semi finals in 2018. They have been inconsistent over the season, but will hope for a better showing in the 13th edition of the Indian Premier League.
We look at Rajasthan Royals’ probable XI for IPL 2020. (Note that Buttler will only miss the first game, while Stokes’ participation is yet to be confirmed).
Yashasvi Jaiswal and Sanju Samson
English wicket-keeper Jos Buttler will miss Rajasthan’s first IPL 2020 game as he traveled to the UAE with his family and will have to undergo a longer quarantine than the other players. In his absence, the Royals are likely to open with talented Yashasvi Jaiswal and Sanju Samson in their opener against Chennai Super Kings.
Jaiswal was the top run-scorer in the Under-19 World Cup that was held in South Africa this year, and showed his temperament in the semis and the finals. He is likely to partner Samson, who can be aggressive on his day, and had batted with a strike rate of nearing 150 in IPL 2019.
Steven Smith, Robin Uthappa and David Miller
Smith will play the role of an anchor in the RR set-up this year, and will have a huge responsibility while batting at number three. The number four slot goes to Robin Uthappa, even though the former Kolkata Knight Riders batsman prefers batting in the top three. Though he has struggled when he has batted down the order, Uthappa will have to adapt to his new role. He has the experience and the big shots, which can make him a dangerous player. In the absence of Miller, it is likely that big-hitter David Miller will take over the role of finisher in the side. He can play the big shots at will in the death, and will have to ensure he takes his team over the line.
Riyan Parag, Rahul Tewatia, Tom Curran
In the absence of Stokes, we have gone ahead with Tom Curran, who is a like for like replacement for the former. Curran can not only send down his four overs in every match, but he can hit the ball a long way as well with the bat in hand in the death overs.
Riyan Parag and Rahul Tewatia will be the two spinning all-rounders in the team for IPL 2020. The former had impressed with his batting last season, and is a sure shot selection in the XI, while Tewatia will have to fight it out with Mayank Markande. However, he is expected to get the nod due to his ability to bat.
Jofra Archer, Shreyas Gopal, Jaydev Unadkat
The last overseas slot in the Rajasthan Royals unit goes to English player Jofra Archer. The cricketer was on fire in the recent white ball series between Australia and England, where his raw pace and his bouncers troubled the opponents. Though Archer will play in conditions that will not aid fast bowling as much, he is a talented player and will have the duty of leading the charge in the powerplay and the death overs.
Shreyas Gopal has been in excellent form for the team in the last few years. Despite his accurate bowling and his impressive economy rate, Gopal is yet to get his India cap and he will be looking to impress ahead of the 2021 T20 World Cup.
The final spot in the side is likely to go to Jaydev Unadkat. Despite players like Ankit Rajpoot, Kartik Tyagi and Akash Singh in the side, Unadkat is expected to make the cut due to his experience and the variety that he brings. He has not been in the best of forms in the last two seasons of the IPL, but with Royals retaining him, he will have a point to prove.
Rajasthan Royals Predicted Playing XI for IPL 2020:
Sanju Samson (wk), Yashasvi Jaiswal, Steve Smith (c), Robin Uthappa, David Miller, Tom Curran, Riyan Parag, Rahul Tewatia, Jofra Archer, Shreyas Gopal, Jaydev Unadkat