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IPL 2019: Rajasthan Royals - RR SWOT Analysis - Strength, Weakness, Opportunity, Threat

Ben Stokes and Jos Buttler are key to the success of Rajasthan Royals
©Rajasthan Royals
 

Rajasthan Royals won the inaugural season of the IPL in 2008 but have not been able to do great things since and have been on a decline.

However, Shane Warne who lead the team to the title victory in the first season is back as mentor. The team would expect his Midas touch to work its magic and help the team rebuild.

Rajasthan Royals suffered a two-year ban in 2015 after which they returned to the league in 2018. Although they were successful in qualifying for the playoffs in 2018, they did not have a great season and scraped through to the qualifiers.

The absence of Steve Smith was a huge loss for them as frankly speaking, Ajinkya Rahane was not able to extract performances out of the players and let the team down to some extent.

Strength

Rajasthan Royals have four terrific overseas players in Ben Stokes, Steve Smith, Jos Buttler and Jofra Archer, each of whom is capable of taking the bull by the horns. Ben Stokes is possibly the most complete all-rounder in the entire world and can win matches both with the bat and ball. Stokes is one of the highest paid cricketers of the league and would do well to live up to the expectations.

Although his credentials are not that celebrated in T20Is, Steve Smith remains one of the foremost batsmen in limited-overs cricket. Moreover, if the team decides to entrust the captaincy with him, it will further give a boost to the side as Smith has a pretty good idea of marshalling the troops.

It was Jos Buttler who turned things around for the team in the last season with a string of half-centuries. He is expected to star at the top of the order this season and don the gloves as well.

With a chance of featuring in the England World Cup squad, Jofra Archer is a complete package as a bowler. He can bowl the quicker bouncer, the slower bouncer and the perfect yorker. Archer can bowl upfront and at the death and pretty much ticks all the boxes as a lead bowler.

Weakness

The bowling of RR consists of players like Jaydev Unadkat (Rs 8.4 cr), Varun Aaron (Rs 2.4 cr) and Oshane Thomas (Rs 1.1 cr) who are capable but far from consistent. And this is what can come back to haunt the team.

Jaydev Unadkat went for over Rs 11 cr last year and had a disappointing season. Oshane Thomas and Varun Aaron are also known for their pace and not their variations. In the shortest format of the game, there is always a risk that the faster the ball comes on to the bat, the faster it flies back.

Opportunity

Indian spinning pair of Krishnappa Gowtham and Shreyas Gopal were not very well known before the beginning of IPL 2018. Both of them exceeded expectations and had a huge role in ensuring that Rajasthan Royals qualify for the playoffs.

Krishnappa Gowtham is also a big-hitting all rounder and provides balance to the side. A couple of times in the last season, he was also promoted higher up in the batting order and a similar strategy can be seen this year as well.

Ish Sodi is the leading overseas spinner of the team. Although he has not been his best in the last few months, he is certainly a class bowler and remains a proven wicket-taker.

Threat

Rajasthan Royals' designated captain Ajinkya Rahane has not been in the best of form for quite some time now. It has been a huge slump in his career which he has been unable to overcome as yet. After performing relatively well for India A, Rahane had an abysmal Syed Mushtaq Ali trophy - the premium domestic T20 competition.

State selector Ajit Agarkar also reported that the Mumbaikar was carrying a few niggles and was playing through them. Rahane has been rested for the remaining part of the tournament. Even if he regains full fitness, the class batsman needs to score a few more runs to uphold his stature.

Talking about the captaincy, Steve Smith has a far better record than Rahane. The former Aussie skipper has captained 24 IPL games and won 16, with a winning percentage of 67. He also captained Pune as the franchise made it to the finals of IPL 2017.

On the contrary, Rahane has captained 16 IPL games and won 7, with an ordinary winning percentage of 43.75. No to forget, Smith has better numbers with the bat as well.

Smith might not be available for the first and last few matches of the IPL. Hence, the RR management might decide to continue with Rahane. However, he has not been up to the mark with both the bat and his leadership and the team might have to pay the price for that.

Retained players: Ajinkya Rahane, Krishnappa Gowtham, Sanju Samson, Shreyas Gopal, Aryaman Birla, S. Midhun, Prashant Chopra, Stuart Binny, Rahul Tripathi, Ben Stokes, Steve Smith, Jos Buttler, Jofra Archer, Ish Sodhi, Dhawal Kulkarni, Mahipal Lomror.

Purchased players in IPL Auction (Dec 18): Jaydev Unadkat (Rs 8.4 cr), Varun Aaron (Rs 2.4 cr), Oshane Thomas (Rs 1.1 cr), Shashank Singh (Rs 30 lakh), Liam Livinstone (Rs 50 lakh), Shubham Rajane (Rs 20 lakh), Manan Vohra (Rs 20 lakh), Ashton Turner (Rs 50 lakh), Riyan Parag (Rs 20 lakh)

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