Rajasthan Royals (RR) had yet another forgettable season during IPL 2021. In the points table, they finished just above last-placed Sunrisers Hyderabad, winning only five of their 14 matches. They never looked in control during the edition, constantly searching for consistency. Apart from skipper Sanju Samson, most of the other players were disappointing. Hence, it wasn’t surprising that RR retained only three players ahead of the IPL 2022 mega auction – Sanju Samson (Rs 14 crore), Jos Buttler (Rs 10 crore), and Yashasvi Jaiswal (Rs 4 crore). Keeping in mind the same, we look at five players RR could target at the auction in January.
New Zealand’s pace bowling all-rounder Kyle Jamieson was purchased by Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) for a whopping INR 15 crore at the IPL 2021 auction. However, the franchise could not utilize his services to the fullest. Jamieson played nine matches in his debut IPL season and claimed as many wickets at 29.88 and an economy rate of 9.60. With the bat, he contributed 65 runs, not getting too many opportunities to perform.
Jamieson’s IPL 2021 numbers aren’t flattering, but he is someone who can be a match-winner if used properly. In his short international career, he has proved the same. With Ben Stokes’ injury and availability issues, it is unlikely that the franchise would go for the England player at the mega auction even if he is available. Jamieson is not in the league of Stokes yet, but he is someone who can be groomed into that role.
RR have retained both their openers in Buttler and Jaiswal. But they have serious issues in the middle-order, where they are heavily reliant on their captain Samson. The franchise will be keen to add some firepower in the batting. Aggressive Aussie batter Chris Lynn could be a good choice. He did not get many opportunities for Mumbai Indians as the franchise was spoilt for choice. But it is no secret that Lynn is one of the most destructive hitters of the cricket ball. He has a strike rate of over 140 after more than 200 games, which explains how dangerous he can be.
Batting all-rounder Shivam Dube has failed to live up to his potential in the IPL. As a result, he did not play too many matches for RR during IPL 2021. However, he did display glimpses of his capability during his whirlwind knock of 64, not out as RR upset Chennai Super Kings (CSK). There is no doubt that Dube has the good capability with the bat. He can contribute with the ball as well, although he needs to work on his medium pace. RR might just be tempted to try and get Dube back.
Over the years, RR have looked to a number of foreign players to deliver the goods, giving them handsome paychecks. Most of them have failed to live up to their expectations. This time, they can perhaps look at a local talent like Mohammed Azharudeen. The Kerala wicketkeeper-batter is one of the most impressive hitters on India’s T20 circuit. Azharuddeen has a 37-ball century in the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy, which says a lot about his big-hitting ability.
Left-arm pacer Chetan Sakariya was among the few bright spots for RR in an otherwise forgettable IPL 2021 campaign. He ran in hard and bowled with passion. He played all 14 matches and claimed as many wickets at an economy rate of 8.19. Beyond the numbers, it was his attitude that stood out. Sakariya, who has already played for India, is someone who can be groomed for the future.