JAIPUR: A pearler of a spell that Jofra Archer bowled to reduce Sunrisers Hyderabad to 16/2 in 2.4 overs, where he dismissed David Warner and Jonny Bairstow, gave Rajasthan Royals an ideal start in their fourth-last match of the 2020 Indian Premier League (IPL) season. But the team’s pursuit to stay afloat in the race to the playoffs were dented heavily as RR attack thereafter were unable to effect any other dismissal and succumbed to an eight-wicket loss. The forgettable outing encapsulates Royals’ over-dependence on the England pacer.
In Royals’ bowling department, Archer is peerless. In a format where runs come easy, the 25-year-old bowled maximum 175 dots and took 20 wickets at an economy of 6.55 in 14 games last season. But, the problem begins to gnaw when other fast bowlers fail to complement him. Mindful of the situation, the Jaipur-based franchise will be on a look out for a fast bowler who can give a complete look to the pace battery.
“Jofra has shown his incredible skills over the last three years and thrives on the responsibility of leading our pace attack. We also have Andrew Tye coming back to his best form which is really exciting, as well as Kartik Tyagi and Jaydev Unadkat, who are very talented individuals. We will certainly look to add further strength and depth to this area to ensure we have the best possible squad for the season,” Royals COO Jake Lush McCrum told TOI in an exclusive interview.
With the salary cap of 37.85 crore available with RR, the priority will be to strike a balance with targeting of both the lesser known talent and established players in the upcoming auction, scheduled to be held on February 18 in Chennai.
“We’ve retained a core group of quality players, with a good mix of youth and international experience around which our squad is going to be built for the upcoming season. We do have a few key slots in mind for the auctions and have our targets aimed to fill those positions. We have seen in recent seasons, as has been the case for the entirety of the IPL, how we are able to give young talent a platform to perform, with the likes of Riyan Parag and Kartik Tyagi performing so well. Our coaching team can’t wait to start working with the talent we sign at the auction to get them ready to execute their skills on the incredible sporting stage that is the IPL,” McCrum elaborated.
Royals have retained 17 players which includes Jos Buttler and Ben Stokes and have released eight including Steve Smith whom they had appointed as the captain in the middle of the IPL 2019.
Since the franchise’s comeback in 2018 after serving a two-year ban, Sanju Samson will be the third captain to helm the team. The constant changing and chopping has rendered the team weak and made the management appear capricious. The COO underscored that a rebalancing of the side was a key reason for the transition in the captaincy to Samson. “However, we have a huge fondness for Steve and are grateful for all his efforts during his time with RR. We do believe having a long term captain is important and believe Sanju is the right individual to hold this role.”
One of the million-dollar buys in the IPL, Unadkat has given dismal returns in the last three seasons. His retention has come as a bit of a surprise, but McCrum backed the management’s decision saying that people under-appreciate the role the bowler plays in the side. “He had many very good spells during IPL 2020 and we believe there is still more to come. He is an experienced Indian left-arm bowler who brings in a lot of domestic experience to the squad and is a handful on Indian pitches in particular.” The Saurashtra seamer took four wickets in seven matches at an economy of 9.91 in IPL 2020 while in 2019 he took 10 wickets in 11 matches at an economy of 10.66.