Rajasthan Royals made their IPL 2018 comeback in style as they drafted the England all-rounder Ben Stokes for INR 12.5 crore, making him the costliest player for the 2nd consecutive season.
The next big signing for the Jaipur-based franchise was the left arm seamer Jaydev Unadkat who was bought for a whopping INR 11.5 crore, second most expensive player in the auction.
Having retained Steve Smith in the pre-auction event, the franchise used their RTM card on Ajinkya Rahane during the auction.
This is how the Rajasthan Royals stand after the auction:
Total Players: 23
Overseas Players: 8
Batsmen: Steve Smith, Ajinkya Rahane, Rahul Tripathi
All-rounders: Ben Stokes, Jofra Archer, Darcy Short, Stuart Binny, Aryaman Birla, S Midhun, Shreyas Gopal, Jatin Saxena, Ankit Sharma, Mahipal Lomror
Wicket-Keepers: Sanju Samson, Jos Buttler, Prashant Chopra
Bowlers: Jaydev Unadkat, K. Gowtham, Dhawal Kulkarni, Zahir Khan, Ben Laughlin, D. Chameera, Anureet Singh
Probable Playing XI: Ajinkya Rahane, Darcy Short, Rahul Tripathi, Steve Smith, Ben Stokes, Sanju Samson, Jofra Archer, Stuart Binny, Ankit Saxena, Jaydev Unadkat, Dhawal Kulkarni
Verdict: Inexperienced bowling line-up
While the batting attack looks balanced with a number of T20 specialists on board – Darcy Short, Ben Stokes, Jofra Archer and Joss Buttler, bowling is slightly on the weaker side. The franchise will be banking on the Unadkat, Dhawal Kulkarni and Australian bowler Ben Laughlin who fared well in the recently concluded Big Bash League.
Furthermore, Prashant Chopra, Anureet Singh and Ankit Sharma have been experienced campaigners in the domestic circuit. There are also a few unknown names in the form of S Midhun, Jatin Saxena and Aryaman Vikram who will be looking to pounce on any given opportunity that comes their way.
It will be interesting to see how skipper Steve Smith rotates his setup in the upcoming edition of IPL.