IPL 2021: Rajasthan Royals bank on new captain Sanju Samson, revamped coaching staff to mount title challenge

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Rajasthan Royals will be eyeing to win their first title since 2008 and have gone for a new-look team in IPL 2021. From a change in skipper and coaching staff to buying the most expensive player in the history of IPL, the Jaipur-based franchise have brought big changes into the side after finishing at the bottom of the table last year.

Australia star Steve Smith, who was the Rajasthan Royals captain last year, made way for Sanju Samson. This is the third change in skipper for the franchise in as many years after Ajinkya Rahane made way for Steve Smith last year.

In 2019, the Royals started under the leadership of India Test vice-captain Ajinkya Rahane, but sacked him as the skipper after the team had just 2 wins in the first eight matches. Steve Smith was made the captain for the next five games, where they won 3 matches. But Smith then had to depart for national duty and Rahane returned for the remaining matches.

For IPL 2021, however, they parted ways with their head coach Andrew McDonald and have brought in Sri Lanka legend Kumar Sangakkara as the Director of Cricket. They also roped in former India fielding coach Trevor Penny as their lead assistant coach.

But it is in buying their new recruits that the team went all out. Going into the IPL 2021 auction, the team had a decent purse of Rs 37.85 crore and a total of nine slots to fill in their squad. They created IPL history when they purchased the South African all-rounder Chris Morris for a whooping Rs 16.25 crore. Morris's addition raised a few eyebrows as the Royals already had a few all-rounder options.

Areas of concern for RR

One certain area of concern for the Rajasthan Royals going into the tournament will be to decide which international players to pick. The team has some big names from international cricket such as Ben Stokes, Jofra Archer, Jos Buttler, David Miller, Andrew Tye, Liam Livingstone, Mustafizur Rahman and Chris Morris. It is going to be tough for them to choose which 4 players to put on the field.

Another worry for them will be the fitness of England fast bowler Jofra Archer, who was the Most Valuable Player in IPL 2020, and will miss at least their first four games due to a finger injury he sustained during England's tour of India.

The youngsters in the side

In IPL 2020, the Royals had some fresh faces that went on to perform well for the team on a few occasions. All-rounder Rahul Tewatia became a household name overnight as he hit Punjab Kings’s Sheldon Cottrell for 30 runs in an over to turn-around a match that seemed to have been lost until then.

Riyan Parag and Karthik Tyagi showed that they had the skills to do well when it mattered, but consistency in performance is where the team seems to be behind their opponents.

It does not come as a surprise that Rajasthan Royals are the team that has finished at the bottom of the table the most number of times in the history of the tournament.

Rajasthan Royals squad:

Sanju Samson (c), David Miller, Ben Stokes, Chris Morris, Liam Livingstone, Shivam Dube, Jos Buttler, Mayank Markande, Jofra Archer, Jaydev Undadkat, Mustafizur Rahman, Andrew Tye, Mahipal Lomror, Manan Vohra, Riyan Parag, Yashasvi Jaiswal, Rahul Tewatia, Anju Rawat, Shreyas Gopal, KC Cariappa, Kartik Tyagi, Akash Singh, Chetan Sakariya, Kuldip Yadav

Rajasthan Royals IPL 2021 Fixtures

— Rajasthan Royals (@rajasthanroyals) March 7, 2021