Steve Smith is back as the full-time captain of Rajasthan Royals for the upcoming Indian Premier League (IPL) season, and the team has an exciting blend of youth and experience at its disposal.
The Royals think tank bought Yashasvi Jaiswal, Kartik Tyagi and Akash Singh – three of India’s top performers at the Under-19 World Cup held earlier this year. They also roped in Robin Uthappa and David Miller to add depth to the squad, while managing to retain the services of left-arm seamer Jaydev Unadkat through the auction last year.
FOLLOW | IPL 2020 COVERAGE
Jos Buttler will open the innings, just as he did for the Royals last season, and is likely to have Jaiswal as his partner. Sanju Samson will be the designated No. 3, while the batting positions of Smith, Ben Stokes and Uthappa might remain fluid. Miller will likely fill in as a cover for Stokes, who is yet to confirm his IPL availability.
While the middle order is formidable, who among them will assume the role of a finisher is still a doubt. The strike rates of Smith (121.96, 116), Stokes (121.73, 124.24) and Uthappa (132.45, 115.10) over the last two seasons don’t make for eye-catching Twenty20 numbers, while Miller scored at close to 130 in the 2019 campaign for Kings XI Punjab.
Riyan Parag might cement his place in the side after his breakthrough campaign in 2019 with both bat and ball. Leggie Shreyas Gopal will be the lead spinner in the side. Jofra Archer and Unadkat will be the lead pacers, and the pace trio will be complete by the inclusion of rookie fast bowler Tyagi, whose strength lies in bowling yorkers at will.
The wildcard in the side will be Tyagi’s under-19 teammate and new-ball partner Akash Singh, who can provide another left-arm option and can hit the deck at pace.
1. Yashasvi Jaiswal
2. Jos Buttler (Overseas)
3. Sanju Samson (Wk)
4. Steve Smith (C/Overseas)
5. Ben Stokes (Overseas)
6. Robin Uthappa
7. Riyan Parag
8. Shreyas Gopal
9. Jofra Archer (Overseas)
10. Kartik Tyagi
11. Jaydev Unadkat
Wildcard: Akash Singh
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