Monday, March 8, 2010
Rajasthan Royals Preview
The third team I would like to have a look at is, the Rajasthan Royals side. Royals were the surprise winners in first IPL in 08, but couldn't reach the semifinals in the second edition in South Africa in 2009. Yes, they had their moments in the second edition of the IPL, but weren't consistent enough and as a result failed to qualify for the semifinals.
The Indian players
First up, we would look at the their Indian players in the squad. If one has a glance at their side, they don't seem to have the depth as far as Indian players are concerned, but the side has shown in the first IPL that they can overcome the lack of talent mainly thanks to the inspirational leadership as Warne.
Among the Indian players, the one to look out for would be the explosive Asnodkhar. He was a big hit in the first competition in 08, but failed to click on the bouncier tracks of South Africa as he couldn't handle the bounce on those tracks. He does look to free his arms and has got good bat speed, but the small guy can be cramped for room. Other than making room and smashing it through the off side he doesn't seem to have a Plan B, but on Indian wickets he may still be a handful as bowlers won't be able to get the bounce. Yusuf Pathan can be dangerous and even in 08 and 09 he made vital contributions, maybe Warne has helped him with his batting as unlike other sloggers he seems to hit a lot in the V and that is a good sign. He can bowl few overs of decent restrictive off spin too. The Royals management have also recruited Jhunjunwala and he did well in the ICL. By all accounts he doesn't seem to be a flash in the pan. The team's middle order does lack a bit of class and Jhunjunwala may have a very important role to play. Ojha seems to be a experienced wicketkeeper batsman, but other than him, they have a slew of youngster like Raut, Kamran Khan whose action came under scrutiny last year, Fazal or journeymen like Pauniker and Quadir. Royals do have a few experienced seamers in their ranks like Patel, Amit Singh and Trivedi. Munaf Patel though seems to be already 62 and not 26 as he just lacks the fitness. I see him being a huge liability in the field. Trivedi is another experienced seamer and the Royals may bank on him to get early wickets. As far as Amit Singh is concerned, his action was questioned as well in the last IPL. I see that Pankaj Singh wasn't successful in the IPL, but from whatever little I have seen of him in the IPL, the tall bowler has a bit of potential as he does hit the bat hard. but his failure in the first IPL perhaps have made sure that Royals have shown him the the exit door. Of course the Royals would miss the services of their all rounder Jadeja as he has been banned.
Among the foreign recruits, Morne Morkel is in the squad, but I don't see him being a good bowler in the shorter formats of the game as he is too predictable and would likely struggle in India. Tait can be a good buy as with his express pace he can trouble few of the Indian domestic players who, wouldn't have faced such extreme pace before. He can be good in the end overs too as he can bowl those yorkers. Martyn too is in the squad, but I don't understand the reason behind his inclusion as he retired from international cricket a few years ago and can be rusty. Lumb can hit a few and if used in the right manner, Masca can do reasonably well as he can bowl a few tidy overs and if they can give him the chance to bat at say 5 or 6 he can be good. He does take bit of time before he goes after the bowling. Botha can bowl few overs of restrictive off spin, but after he was reported for suspect action he seems to have lost his confidence and doesn't even bowl that doosra. The Royals squad still have the services of the South African captain Smith and if fit he is going to be the key at top of the order. The other key player for them, Watson is going to miss this season as cricket Australia have asked him to take rest. So, it would be again up to Shane Warne to motivate a young squad.
My team for Rajatshan Royals
The side would depend on Smith and Asnodkhar to give good starts. The team would heavily bank on maybe Jhunjunwala to steady the ship in the middle order with Pathan looking to get the big hits. If Lumb fails, I may pick Masca, but I would like to see him bat at say number 6.
In the bowling department, they may depend on Trivedi and Tait to do the trick as Munaf Patel at the age of just 26 seems to be past his best. One can can't leave out the veteran Warne either as even at the age of 40 he may create problems for the opposition batsmen with his leg spin.
It would be tough for the Royals, as they lack the depth in the squad, but with Warne as the captain they may still surprise a few.