Explosive batting, sharp spin, decent pace: A look at Rajasthan Royals strongest possible XI at IPL 2023
Going into a brand new edition, Rajasthan Royals have assembled some of the best players.
After an exemplary show in the previous edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL), Sanju Samson-led Rajasthan Royals will hope for yet another fruitful outing heading into cricket's biggest festival, which gets underway from Friday. The franchise won the inaugural edition back in 2008, following which they had to wait for 14 long years before making their second appearance in the finale of the cash rich tournament. However, this time Samson and Co. failed to replicate what legendary spinner Shane Warne had achieved against Chennai Super Kings at the DY Patil Stadium in Mumbai back.
Going into a brand new edition, Royals have assembled some of the best players and will only have themselves to be blamed if they fail to qualify for the play-offs.
Jos Buttler and Yuzvendra Chahal, who won the Orange and Purple Cap respectively in IPL 2022, will once again hold the key for the Jaipur-based franchise.
Buttler was in terrific form last year as he accumulated 863 runs from 17 encounters at a strike-rate of almost 150. He had then slammed four centuries and the same number of half-centuries, with 116 being his highest individual score.
While Royals will hope for a repeat from Buttler, joining him at top will be Yashasvi Jaiswal, who is coming into the tournament after an impressive domestic season. Devdutt Padikkal can fill up the number three spot, and skipper Samson can play the anchor role at the number four slot.
Samson is a fan favourite but has been given very limited chance with the national team, which should definitely add fuel to his fire. And with Indian batters, especially Suryakumar Yadav, completely misfiring against Australia in the ODI series, Samson would look to use IPL 2023 as a platform to make his case stronger for a middle-order slot in the World Cup squad.
Shimron Hetmyer should be an obvious choice going by the finishes he delivered for Royals last year. However, it will be interesting to see if Riyan Parag, who's stakes have risen after a healthy outing with Assam in the domestic circuit, will be promoted above the West Indies batter or not.
Parag is confident of replicating a similar show in IPL and in a recent social media post, the all-rounder predicted himself hitting “4 sixes in an over at some point” during the course of the tournament.
Jason Holder could be used as an all-rounder, although, the latest Impact Player rule nullifies the role of an all-rounder up to certain extent as argued by Delhi Capitals coach Ricky Ponting during a recent media interaction. "It actually almost negates the role of allrounders in the game now. So unless they're absolutely world-class and they're getting picked either as a batsman or as a bowler, not sort of a bits and pieces guy, then I don't think you'll see many teams this year use a guy that might bat at seven and maybe bowl over or two," the former Australia captain said.
Coming to the bowling front, the spin department should be left to R Ashwin and Chahal. Together they formed a dominant pair in the previous year, accounting for 39 wickets combined from 17 matches. The franchise will expect a similar show from two tweakers.
Trent Boult, who is eight wickets away from completing a century, will spearhead the pace battery and will most probably be joined by Kuldeep Sen as the second seamer.
Rajasthan get their campaign underway against a revamped Sunrisers Hyderabad unit on Sunday.
Rajasthan Royals strongest possible XI for IPL 2023: Jos Buttler, Yashasvi Jaiswal, Devdutt Padikkal, Sanju Samson, Riyan Parag, Shimron Hetmyer, Jason Holder, R Ashwin, Yuzvendra Chahal, Trent Boult, Kuldeep Sen
Rajasthan Royals full squad for IPL 2023: Sanju Samson (c & wk), Yashasvi Jaiswal, Shimron Hetmyer, Devdutt Padikkal, Jos Buttler (wk), Dhruv Jurel, Riyan Parag, Sandeep Sharma, Trent Boult, Obed McCoy, Navdeep Saini, Kuldeep Sen, Kuldeep Yadav, R Ashwin, Yuzvendra Chahal, KC Cariappa, Jason Holder, Donovan Ferreira (wk), Kunal Rathore, Adam Zampa, KM Asif, Murugan Ashwin, Akash Vashisht, Abdul PA, Joe Root
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