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IPL 2022: Rajasthan Royals SWOT Analysis

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7 mins read
IPL 2022: Rajasthan Royals SWOT Analysis

With a top five comprising serious match-winners followed by a bowling attack most teams would be fearful of, the Rajasthan Royals have built quite the squad for the upcoming season, packed with firepower and a genuine sense of optimism all around. 

On the first day of the IPL 2022 mega auction, the CEO of the Rajasthan Royals, Mr. Jack Lush McCrum, delivered a very bold statement. This was coming from a team who have finished seventh, eighth and seventh respectively over the last three seasons. 

“We’re building a team to win the championship, it’s as simple as that,” said RR CEO Jack Lush McCrum.

“And we think we bought players who can help us do that. We got a lot of feedback from the fans, we’ve learned a lot over the last few years. Hopefully the fans can see by the players we’re targeting, the squad we’re trying to build. And again, we want to win this season.”

Now, whether the Rajasthan Royals can challenge for the title this season remains to be seen, but they did have quite a decent auction. Having been a team consistently lacking enough experience and quality within their ranks, the RR were able to bring in multiple match-winners for various positions throughout the squad. 

The Royals’ biggest paycheck came for Prasidh Krishna for a sum of ₹10 crore. Next in line was the explosive West Indian middle-order batter Shimron Hetmyer at ₹8.75 crore. The Royals also sorted some of their top-order issues with the signing of Devdutt Padikkal at ₹7.75 crore, while for a combined fee of ₹14.50 crore, Trent Boult and Yuzvendra Chahal were among two of the bargain signings of the day. 

So, where do the Rajasthan Royals stand after the 2022 auction? Could they challenge for the Playoff spots, or even the title? Without further ado, let’s dive into it and take a look at the SWOT analysis of the Rajasthan Royals for IPL 2022. 

Rajasthan Royals‘ 2022 Squad

Total Squad Strength: 24

Batters and
Wicket-keepers
All-roundersBowlers
Devdutt Padikkal
Karun Nair
Rassie van der Dussen
Riyan Parag
Shimron Hetmyer
Yashasvi Jaiswal
Dhruv Jurel (wk)
Jos Butler (wk)
Sanju Samson (c & wk)
Anunay Singh
Daryl Mitchell
James Neesham
Nathan Coulter-Nile
Ravichandran Ashwin
Shubham Gharwal
Kuldeep Sen
Kuldip Yadav
Navdeep Saini
Obed McCoy
Prasidh Krishna
Trent Boult
KC Kariappa
Tejas Baroka
Yuzvendra Chahal

Probable XI: Yashasvi Jaiswal, Jos Butler (wk), Devdutt Padikkal, Sanju Samson (c), Shimron Hetmyer, Riyan Parag, Nathan Coulter-Nile, Ravichandran Ashwin, Yuzvendra Chahal, Prasidh Krishna, Trent Boult.

STRENGTH

The Rajasthan Royals’ biggest strength lies in their top five and the four bowlers at the bottom of the playing XI. With Butler, Jaiswal and Samson already part of the team, the addition of Devdutt Padikkal and Shimron Hetmyer adds real quality to that RR batting lineup. Thus, in that top five, the Royals have at least four genuine match-winners at their disposal. 

This is nothing new. Rajasthan have tried using this ploy in the previous seasons as well, with the likes of Ben Stokes as the aggressor up top and both Steven Smith and Ajinkya Rahane providing stability and experience at the top of the order. 

However, noises coming from the RR camp suggest that it could be Yashasvi Jaiswal and Jos Butler opening the innings. Padikkal, who was brought in for ₹7.75 crore, became one of the mainstays in the Royals Challengers Bangalore batting line-up at the top of the order, where he got most of his runs, but now he will have to adjust to his new role and surroundings. With Butler and Jaiswal in the mix, the Karnataka boy could find himself batting at No. 3 and, thus, it will be interesting to see how he performs if he comes in when the field is spread out. 

The other significant strength of the Rajasthan Royals is the variety in their bowling lineup. Getting two of India’s premier spin bowlers—Ravichandran Ashwin and Yuzvendra Chahal—for a combined fee of ₹11.50 crore amid the chaotic and overpriced market on Day 1 of the mega auction was a big, big coup. While Chahal is India’s finest white-ball spin bowler at the moment, Ashwin is still a world-beater and has the tactical nous and skill set to bamboozle any batting unit. 

In their pace bowling ranks, the Royals have the ever-dependable Trent Boult to rely on, while the presence of raw pace in the shape of Prasidh Krishna and Navdeep Saini adds another dimension to their attack. Moreover, both Krishna and Saini are wicket-takers themselves and have been in a great run of form over the last six months or so. 

WEAKNESS

For all their good picks during the IPL 2022 auction, the RR will be heading into the new season with two glaring holes. 

Firstly, it is their lower middle order that is raising concerns once again. While the Royals have seriously strengthened and bolstered their top five with key buys like Padikkal and Hetmyer, along with a solid cover for Hetmyer in Rassie van der Dussen, the inconsistencies and lack in quality of certain starters and backup options raises a question or two. Although van der Dussen is a hugely underrated player—he is very good against fast bowling and more than adept at tackling quality spin bowling and is an anchor-styled batter—the Royals can only slot him in at No. 4 if the top order fails to perform and capitalise through the middle overs, with him coming in for Hetmyer as the likeliest replacement. Riyan Parag, coming in at No. 6, is another player who hasn’t done anything significant of late, but he is likely to retain his place in the playing XI at least for the start of the season. Parag has struggled for consistency in the past, and at the end of the day, it will only be a punt to back him again, nothing more than that. 

Secondly, in an ideal scenario, the Royals could have and should have secured a finisher earlier (at least someone who did half the job Ben Stokes did). Having ended the auction with ₹95 lakh remaining in the purse, could they have pushed and probed a bit harder for Romario Shepherd? Maybe. It is not like the RR hadn’t planned or were not looking for power-hitting all-rounders. They missed out on a couple of premier options and fought hard to find an able replacement for Ben Stokes, but with the lack in quality they have in that department now, in hindsight, they could’ve done a lot better with going all in for one of those targets rather than filling up the squad for the sake of it. 

OPPORTUNITY

Even after a below-par 2021 campaign, the Rajasthan Royals management has put its faith in the young Yashasvi Jaiswal to come good. The 20-year-old has bags of potential but hasn’t been able to live up to it so far in his brief IPL career. More recently, Jaiswal was in action for Mumbai, playing some domestic T20 and List-A cricket. However, he hasn’t been in the best of forms ahead of the 2022 season. He registered scores of 13, 1, 19 and 4 during the four T20 games, while after playing five List-A games his best scores were 61 against Karnataka and an unbeaten 41 against Baroda. His other three scores read 5, 19 and 2 against Tamil Nadu, Bengal and Puducherry respectively. Hence, despite being short of runs, this is a huge opportunity for the youngster.

Devdutt Padikkal is another young talent who has recently broken into the Indian national team, albeit only in the T20I setup. However, with Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan and Virat Kohli all ageing, talks will have to begin soon at some point regarding a changing of the guard in the near future, and the Karnataka boy will want to put himself up there among the frontrunners. He had a brilliant 2021 campaign, and although his performances tailed off slightly towards the back end, he was still one of the fulcrums in the RCB’s title charge last season. Rajasthan paid ₹7.75 crore for his services, and they’ll be expecting a lot from him. Moreover, rumours are emerging from the RR camp suggesting that Padikkal could be batting at No. 3. He’s very assured when playing against spin and tackles fast bowling effortlessly, so the change in the batting order shouldn’t bother him much, though the batters around him will need to do their jobs to a tee for him to transition into his new role seamlessly. 

To cap it off, I have Obed McCoy here. The 25-year-old left-arm fast bowler from the Caribbean is a decent backup option to Trent Boult and is someone who can also be brought in as a genuine fifth bowling option should the RR management team think so. McCoy is quick, bowls a lot of change-ups, and is a wicket-taker. However, the West Indian can also leak runs and go at a hefty pace due to the lack of control and direction he has over his bowling during clutch situations. Nevertheless, the Royals have a great asset on their hands should their Indian fast-bowling contingent misfire or if Boult fails to turn up. 

THREAT

Despite the firepower they possess up top, it is important to remind ourselves that the Rajasthan Royals will have one of the youngest top-orders of all the ten teams in IPL 2022. Thus, it will crumble under pressure from time to time. And while the likes of Padikkal, Samson and Butler have been in great form over the last year or so, the same cannot be said for Jaiswal, Hetmyer and Parag. These three players have been underperforming since 2020 and have produced very few moments of brilliance for the money they command. 

This brings us to the other major concern for the Royals: in Ravichandran Ashwin, Yuzvendra Chahal, Prasidh Krishna and Trent Boult, they have four bankable bowlers in their playing XI, but the fifth bowler could still become an issue. To further bolster the lower order, they could bring in James Neesham at No. 7. He will certainly solidify that lower order, but asking him to cover four overs as the fifth bowler on a regular basis is a punt, and a fairly risky one. Nathan Coulter-Nile is the other alternative and is more suited to fill in for that fifth-bowler role, but that will only weaken the lower order, which already sees its last recognised batter at No. 6. 

Thus, having no choices left but to go for Nathan Coulter-Nile and James Neesham in the final round of the auction, and it looks like whatever plan A, B or C they had in place for the overseas slots, it didn’t pan out the way they would have wanted, since at that stage the Royals still had four overseas slots to fill, and that cannot be attributed to just auction dynamics. 

Thus, all things considered, I expect the Rajasthan Royals to make their long due return to the Playoff places. They have the squad—more importantly, the playing XI—to win a lot of games on merit this season. Not only does their leader Sanju Samson have a year’s worth of experience in leading an IPL franchise, he now also has someone like Kumar Sangakkara as head coach to learn from, which only makes it all the more intriguing. 

PREDICTION: 3rd

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