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March 29, 2022

IPL 2022: The Rajasthan Royals are now calmly confident after firing blanks in the last three seasons.

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They have learned from past mistakes and put together a balanced team this year. They now have an Indian core to their team, which was once heavily dependent on foreign players.

CHENNAI: Sunday afternoon saw the Rajasthan Royals captain Sanju Samson upload a photo of himself with Yuzvendra Chahal, Ravichandran Ashwin and Zubin Bharucha, their development &performance director Zubin Bharucha, in their bus. The caption read: “D Back Benchers” with an emoticon.

Perhaps it was a fitting description for where the team was at the end the three previous seasons. In 2019, they were seventh, eighth in 2020, and seventh in 2021. They were still in the running to reach the play-offs stage, barring the last season. They failed to make it past the first round every time. After a two-year suspension, the team made a comeback in the 2018 season. They reached the play-offs but were unable to field a strong team because Jos Buttler had left for national duty. This is their closest to winning a title since they returned.

indian premier league 2022They have learned from past mistakes and put together a balanced team this year. They now have an Indian core of Samson, Ashwin and Chahal to compliment Jos Buttler and Trent Boult. Shimon Hetmyer, Nathan Coulter–Nile, who are expected to be their first choice overseas players in the XI. This makes for a strong team, with Riyan Parag and Karun Nair in contention for the last slot.

It was no surprise that Samson seemed bullish ahead of the match against Sunrisers Hyderabad at Pune’s Maharashtra Cricket Association stadium. “We certainly had a lot to learn from the past 2-3 seasons. We had a lot of discussions and came up with a number of options. The auction result was a great team. We want to be together as soon possible. Samson stated that we have a new squad and some new players in the team. It is important to get together and understand our teammates.”

Some of their picks have allowed Rajasthan to mix a variety of Indian and foreign players. They have enough power to take out any team using the bat with a top-five that includes Jaiswal and Buttler, Samson, Samson, Samson, and Hetmyer.

Except for Padikkal who is more text-book oriented than the rest, all have the ability to play T20 and allow Royals to bat at the top of the order whenever required. The batting unit is a complement to the style of play that Samson plays. They can still fire some duds on odd days, but if they click, it would be difficult to stop them, especially with the left-right combination.

“This format needs to be played with a fearless mindset. This team has that kind of character this year. We would like to be able to express ourselves. This format is so easy to enjoy that you don’t need second thoughts. Samson stated that we would do the same.

Samson has a lot of options with the ball, with Boult trying to do damage with the new ball, Prasidh-Nile and Coutler–Nile in the mix, and two spinners in Ashwin or Chahal. They may choose Garg over Karun as they need a sixth bowling option. “We have a lot Indian and international strength within our team. It’s a long tournament. It is important to know the mentality and fitness of all players. Samson stated that there are many options for us to choose from.

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