Rajasthan Royals in IPL 2024. The former champions may be in the auction for only a couple of crucial spots that will give them options as the season evolves.

The mini-auction of the Indian Premier League (IPL) is still bound to cause anxiety to a few teams that must fill key slots. At the same time ensure they find a balance between the kind of players they want and the purse they have. Rajasthan Royals are not one of those teams. Although it remains seen if they come away from Dubai on Tuesday a satisfied lot.

Having achieved a sensational victory in the inaugural IPL edition in 2008 under Shane Warne. They had to wait until 2022 to get another shot at the title, losing to debutants Gujarat Titans in the final. Having ended a 14-year wait to even get to that stage, the Sanju Samson-led outfit’s hope of finding a second title dash after they slipped to finish fifth in the league phase in IPL 2023, failing to make the playoffs.

Despite that disappointment, RR franchise bosses and team management have not seen any need for major changes, reposing trust in most of the players from the last two editions. That is reflected in their 16 retentions in a squad of 25 and a trade that has brought in fast bowler Avesh Khan from Lucknow Super Giants. With top-order batter Devdutt Padikkal going to the KL Rahul-captained side.

RR in IPL 2024
RR in IPL 2024

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So, what could be on RR’s wishlist come Tuesday? (Rajasthan Royals in IPL 2024)

Their top-order batting looks settled. Their valued player in IPL 2023 was Yashasvi Jaiswal, who aggregated 625 runs at an average of 48.07 and a strike rate of 163.61. His brilliant century and five half-centuries all but helped them reach the playoffs and the 21-year-old left-handed batter has since gone on to play for India in Tests and T20Is.

Samson, Shimron Hetmyer, Jos Buttler, and Riyan Parag provide explosive power and stability in the line-up. Buttler had an outstanding 2022, topping the league batting charts by aggregating 863 runs.

RR though could be looking for an overseas batter, ideally an all-rounder, who can provide impetus to the second half of the innings. Overseas all-rounders are few and if they are looking for someone who can bowl seam, it could lead to intense bidding. With a purse of only ₹14.50 crore left, the second smallest among the 10 teams, and eight slots to fill — three are overseas slots — it would be interesting to see what they settle for.

Royals are well serving in the pace department with Trent Boult. Navdeep Saini, Prasidh Krishna, and Sandeep Sharma all experienced hands. They would hope Avesh Khan, who didn’t have a great 2023 season with LSG, finds consistency in the next edition.

Rajasthan Royals in IPL 2024
Rajasthan Royals in IPL 2024

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RR’s IPL Strategy: Neesham’s Role, Spin Options

If they are after an all-rounder, New Zealand’s Jimmy Neesham is an option. His base price is ₹1.5 crore, but he can give RR an extra option with bat and ball, as a finisher. Royals released Caribbean all-rounder Jason Holder ahead of the auction after he got only eight games last season.

The spin department not only looks well settled but also could be their strongest suit with Ravichandran Ashwin and Yuzvendra Chahal there besides Adam Zampa. The leg-spinner got to play only six games in IPL 2023, taking eight wickets at an economy of 8.55. However, Zampa could be a different bowler after finding his rhythm in Australia’s victorious ODI World Cup campaign — he was the second-highest wicket-taker with 23 scalps — by using the googly to deadly effect.

The combination of Sangakkara and Samson will hope that whoever the new additions are can infuse fresh dynamism into the performances next season. RR has always had a solid first eleven to pick from, which showed in the strong start they had in IPL 2023, but haven’t always had equally capable hands on the bench as the season wears on and the time to explore options arrives.

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