Making a comeback in the Indian Premier League (IPL) after a gap of two years, Rajasthan Royals had a tough task to rebuild the squad from scratch. Unlike the Chennai Super Kings, who were clear about retaining their core team, the Royals literally had to build the team from scratch after retaining just Steve Smith. With a heavier purse than most of the franchises, the Royals splurged money to buy Ben Stokes at a whopping price of Rs 12.5 crore, making him top the list of the most expensive players at the auctions. While Stokes' bidding was always going to be an intense one, the auction lit up after the Royals also spent a whopping 11 crore to sign Jaydev Unadkat.
They are a very well balanced side – one of the best in the tournament. While they have two batsmen in Steve Smith and Ajinkya Rahane, who are known for their consistency, they also have big-hitters in Stokes and Jos Buttler – one of the best finishers in modern day cricket. The Royals have also roped in the services of Jofra Archer, the Sussex all-rounder who was bought for 7. 2 crores. While many haven't heard much about him, those closely following the BBL know he could be a major asset for any franchise.
By spending big money at the auctions, the Royals have one major weakness in their squad which is a fragile spin attack. In fact, the franchise failed to sign even a single well-known spinner. Krishnappa Gowtham, who plays for Karnataka, is possibly too inexperienced to get rid of batsmen, who are much more experienced to be troubled by his bowling. As the tournament kicks off, Royals will realise they have committed a major blunder by not roping in any spinners.
Captain and coach
Steve Smith and Paddy Upton
Manoj Badale, Lachlan Murdoch
Players missing from 11th edition
Shane Watson, James Faulkner
Key signings at IPL 2018 auctions
Ben Stokes, Jaydev Unadkat, Jos Buttler, Jofra Archer,
Rajasthan Royals complete squad
Steve Smith, Benjamin Stokes, Jaydev Unadkat, Sanju Samson, Jofra Archer, Krishnappa Gowtham, Jos Buttler, Ajinkya Rahane, Darcy Short, Rahul Tripathi, Dhawal Kulkarni, Zahir Khan Pakteen, Ben Laughlin, Stuart Binny, Dushmantha Chameera, Anureet Singh, Aryaman Vikram Birla, Midhun S, Shreyas Gopal, Prashant Chopra, Jatin Saxena, Ankit Sharma, Mahipal Lomror
Rajasthan Royals likely playing XI
Ajinkya Rahane, Rahul Tripathi, Steve Smith (c), Ben Stokes, Sanju Samson, Jos Buttler (wk), Jofra Archer, Krishnappa Gowtham, Stuart Binny, Dhawal Kulkarni, Jaydev Unadkat