Rajasthan Royals all-time XI: Warne leads an efficient bunch capable of big upsets
Rajasthan Royals won the first season of the Indian Premier League out of nowhere. We say that because no one gave them a chance. While the attention was on the big boys, Shane Warne inspired a bunch of youngsters to do the unthinkable. They have been the underdogs ever since. The team hasn’t made it to another final but there have been several good campaigns in which they have fought with the favourites with limited resources.
Here is our take on Rajasthan Royals’ all-time XI
1) Ajinkya Rahane (M: 106, Runs: 3098, 100/50: 2/21, SR: 122.30)
The man who was responsible for giving a strong foundation to Rajasthan Royals’ innings at the top of the order. Rahane toiled hard in the domestic circuit and finally got rewarded for it. But it was his success in the IPL that helped him improve his stocks and chances of making it to the national team. Rahane’s consistency and ability to play the anchor’s role saw him become an automatic choice for the team, until they found more attacking options and decided to trade him to Delhi Daredevils. In his 7 seasons with the franchise, Rahane was by far one of the best performers for the team.
2) Jos Buttler (M: 21, Runs: 859, 100/50: 0/8, SR: 153.94)
Perhaps the best investment in a foreign player since buying Shane Watson. Buttler has been a force to reckon with at the top of the order and his absence can be felt from the moment he is not part of the team. His explosive style has given the Royals a much needed filip at the top of the order, which they missed earlier. His record in the space of just two seasons shows the impact he has had on the team. One of the few England players who have succeeded in the league.
3) Sanju Samson (wk) (M: 71, Runs: 1724, 100/50: 1/10, SR: 131.10)
The young batsman from Kerala found his groove in the top order of Rajasthan Royals. He went on to play for a couple of seasons in Delhi Daredevils and that was because of his exploits for the Royals. Rahul Dravid invested a lot in Samson and vindicated his mentor by playing some really handsome knocks for the team including a century. His ability to face the new ball makes him an ideal choice for number 3 in case a wicket falls early.
4) Rahul Dravid (M: 52, Runs: 1324, 100/50: 0/7, SR: 108.88)
Might get scoffed at for this selection but we needed someone who could milk the spinners and keep the boat steady in the middle overs. Steve Smith is the best man for this job but that would have meant losing an overseas player quota. Dravid’s record in the three seasons he played at the Royals was decent and his strike rate isn’t far off from that of Smith. A calm head on the shoulders, he could be the glue in the batting order.
5) Shane Watson (M: 84, Runs: 2474, SR: 140.16, W: 61, Econ: 7.49)
He revived his international career at Rajasthan Royals with a stand out performance with both bat and ball in the opening season and went on to become an integral part of the Australian team. He gave his best everytime he got onto the field for his team and is the biggest asset in this team which has some really good T20 players. Achieved most of his success as an opener but he can be trusted to finish the innings with a flurry as well.
6) Yusuf Pathan (M: 43, Runs: 1011, SR: 161.24, W: 20, Econ: 7.39)
The start of a dream for the other Pathan. While his brother Irfan was already an experienced India player, Yusuf was still trying to break into the reckoning. His moment under the sun came with Rajsthan Royals as he thundered with the bat and was clever with the ball. Another bonafide all-rounder in a team that looks very strong on paper.
7) Stuart Binny (M: 78, Runs: 812, SR: 132.67, W: 17, Econ: 7.53)
Ravindra Jadeja wasn’t yet the all-rounder that he became later with Chennai Super Kings and that leaves us with Stuart Binny, who fits the role of a utility player. Binny is one of those players who get less recognition for being a jack of all trades and get more criticism for being the master of none. The point is, in a team you need players who can contribute and Binny is worth every penny in that role.
8) Sohail Tanvir (M: 11, W: 22, Econ: 6.46)
The left arm paceman from Pakistan lit up the maiden season with his weird bowling action and instant success. He ended with the Purple Cap for picking up the highest number of wickets. Unfortunately the 26/11 terrorist attacks meant Pakistani players were not included in the IPL there after and Tanvir never played in the tournament again. His international career ended soon as well but that one season was pure gold and he is in the team on the back of that.
9) Shane Warne (C) (M: 55, W: 57, Econ: 7.27)
The guy was a genius in everything he touched. He was a spinner par excellence. Had a safe pair of hands anywhere in the field and was no mug with the bat. He never got to showcase his leadership skills with the Australian team but showed the world what a great international captain he could have been as he inspired a big coup in the maiden season by winning the trophy. Four overs of absolute gold where you can expect wickets and nothing in return to the opposition.
10) Siddharth Trivedi (M: 76, W: 65, Econ: 7.58)
Those who aren’t crazy about records would actually be surprised if we tell you that Trivedi is the highest wicket taker for the franchise. Yes, that’s the kind of impact the lanky medium pacer had. He was one of the first bowlers who showcased how change of pace could be a deadly weapon in the 20-over format. The slower delivery was his go to delivery and his record speaks for itself. A Royals great in many ways.
11) Munaf Patel (M: 30, W: 33, Econ: 7.57)
The 2011 World Cup winner was one of the silent performers for the team. His accuracy, change of pace and ability to keep a lid on runs makes him an invaluable member of this team. He also had the knack of picking big wickets and breaking partnerships.