Rajasthan Royals (RR) purchased nine players at the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2023 auction in Kochi on Friday, December 23. The inaugural champions headed into the mini-auction with a purse of ₹13.20 crore. They managed to fill up all their nine vacant slots and were still left with a purse of ₹3.35 crore.
Seasoned West Indies all-rounder Jason Holder was Rajasthan’s biggest purchase at the IPL 2023 auction. He was picked up by the franchise for ₹5.75 crore. The Royals also bought Australian leg-spinner Adam Zampa for ₹1.5 crore and experienced England batter Joe Root for ₹1 crore.
RR’s budget purchases at the mini-auction on Friday were Donovan Ferreira (₹50 lakh), Kunal Rathore (₹20 lakh), KM Asif (₹30 lakh), Murugan Ashwin (₹20 lakh), Akash Vashisht (₹20 lakh) and Abdul P A (₹20 lakh).
With the IPL 2023 mini-auction over, here’s a SWOT analysis of the Rajasthan franchise.
Strengths: A well-settled unit
Rajasthan were the runners-up in the IPL 2022 season. It was but obvious then that they came up with some very efficient performances. The results were a byproduct of the Royals having a well-settled outfit at their disposal. Be it in batting or bowling, they were one of the strongest franchises on paper during the 2022 season.
Jos Buttler was sensational at the top with the willow, to say the least, hammering 863 runs in 17 matches with four hundreds. Skipper Sanju Samson, Shimron Hetmyer, and Yashasvi Jaiswal also chipped in with important contributions.
In the bowling department, leg-spinner Yuzvendra Chahal won the Purple Cap for claiming 27 wickets in 17 games at a strike rate of 15.11. Prasidh Krishna (19 wickets) and Trent Boult (16 wickets) also made their presence felt.
RR have retained their core squad for IPL 2023 as well. Most of the players are still in good form. As a result, there is no reason why the franchise should not make an impact in the upcoming season.
Weaknesses: Tendency to be inconsistent
Even as personnel has changed, the inconsistency factor has been RR’s bane in the IPL over the years. This is also one of the main reasons why they haven’t won the T20 league since the inaugural edition in 2008.
Even during IPL 2022, when they reached the final, glimpses of their tendency to go off-track made its presence felt, though only in spurts.
They began their IPL 2022 campaign by winning their first two games, but then lost two of their next three matches. In one of the games against Gujarat Titans (GT), they were completely off the boil, going down by 37 runs. After recovering with three wins in a row, they again lost consecutive matches to Mumbai Indians (MI) and Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR). Their batting faltered badly in both clashes.
Rajasthan did commendably well to reach the final, where their chinks were again exposed by GT. The likes of Samson, Jaiswal, and Devdutt Padikkal looked out of shape in some of their matches. RR needed Buttler and Hetmyer to bail them out a number of times. It was a similar story in bowling in a few of the games.
Opportunities: Holder and Zampa can stamp their class
It must be said that Holder has been unlucky not to have won over the confidence of at least one of the franchises he has played in during his IPL career.
The versatile West Indies cricketer came up with reasonable performances with the ball for Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) earlier and Lucknow Super Giants (LSG) in IPL 2022. Still, he will find himself representing a new team in 2023. Known for his ability as an all-rounder, the 31-year-old would be keen to make a major impact with RR.
Also, leg-spinner Adam Zampa, who played a key role in Australia’s T20 World Cup 2021 triumph, is yet to make a consistent impact in the IPL. This is despite the fact that he picked 6/19 for the Rising Pune Supergiant back in the 2016 edition.
Zampa has surprisingly not had many opportunities, having played only 14 games across three seasons. He will be hoping Rajasthan gives him a decent run so that he gets a chance to prove his worth in the IPL.
Threats: History of disappointments
A bit like Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB), Rajasthan have perhaps also carried that baggage of failures from previous editions into upcoming ones.
They did really well to overcome the mental block and reach the summit clash in IPL 2022. However, their demons reappeared on the big day. RR never looked in the hunt in the final against Gujarat.
After winning the inaugural edition in 2008, the Royals made their first appearance in the final earlier this year. They have made it to the playoffs on only three other occasions. RR were suspended for two years from the competition. In all the other editions, they have been eliminated in the group stage.
IPL 2023 will prove how big a difference the 2022 performance has made to the confidence of the team.
Edited by Samya Majumdar