IPL 2020: RR Team Preview - Ben Stokes' unavailability setback for Steve Smith-led Rajasthan
After winning the inaugural edition of the IPL under the leadership of Shane Warne, it has been a slippery slope for Rajasthan Royals. The team, however, showed signs of resurgence as they made the playoffs last year.
Solid overseas signings
In Steve Smith, Jofra Archer, Ben Stokes, Jos Buttler, Tom Curran, Andrew Tye, David Miller and Oshane Thomas, Rajasthan have eight brilliant overseas options. But, you look a bit deeper and there are some evident troubles.
Ben Stokes won't be available, at least for the first half of the tournament and might miss the entire season. Andrew Tye is no longer the force he once was, David Miller is on the last legs of his career and Oshane Thomas has been struggling for consistency and fitness for some time now.
Still, if the team management picks judicially and Rajasthan Royals mix and match their overseas players with their Indian talent, they have ample skillful player in the ranks to make a mark.
Ben Stokes left the test series between England and Pakistan midway after his father was diagnosed with brain cancer. After reaching New Zealand, he had to quarantine for 14 days and has only recently met his family. It is only obvious that he will take some time to decide on whether or not he is in the mental space to be available for the IPL.
Sources from the franchise have already ruled him out of the first half of the season and it will not be surprising if Stokes misses the entire IPL 2020, which will be a massive setback for Rajasthan.
Onus on Buttler
Rajasthan will keep their fingers crossed that Jos Buttler maintains his international form for them at the top of the order. He will pair with Indian batting prodigy Yashasvi Jaiswal.
The team has Sanju Samson, Steve Smith and Robin Uthappa in the middle order, with young spin bowling all-rounder Riyan Parag to follow.
Tye, Curran, Archer and Thomas - RR's overseas quicks
Jofra Archer and Jaydev Unadkat will make the XI alongside Rajasthan's leading leg spinner Shreyas Gopal. On the slow surfaces of the UAE, spinner Mayank Markande might also get an opportunity.
For their last bowling spot, the team has the options of Tom Curran, Andrew Tye, Oshane Thomas and Varun Aaron. With the unavailability of Ben Stokes, one overseas slot opens up and Tye's prowess with his slew of slower deliveries should get him the nod.
Probable Starting XI
Rajasthan Royals (RR) - Yashasvi Jaiswal, Jos Buttler(wk), Sanju Samson, Steve Smith(c), Robin Uthappa, Riyan Parag, Jofra Archer, Mayank Markande, Shreyas Gopal, Andrew Tye, Jaydev Unadkat.
Rajasthan Royals (RR) - Ben Stokes, Steven Smith, Sanju Samson, Jofra Archer, Jos Buttler, Ankit Rajpoot, Rahul Tewatia, Robin Uthappa, Jaydev Unadkat, Varun Aaron, Yashasvi Jaiswal, Mayank Markande, Kartik Tyagi, Tom Curran, Andrew Tye, Anuj Rawat, David Miller, Oshane Thomas, Shashank Singh, Mahipal Lomror, Manan Vohra, Riyan Parag, Shreyas Gopal, Aniruddha Joshi, Akash Singh
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