Rajasthan Royals produced a spectacular performance in the IPL 2018 after returning from their two-year suspension. The team lead by Ajinkya Rahane won four out of its last five group games and secured a place in the playoffs ahead of giants like Mumbai Indians and Royal Challengers Bangalore. Royals bowed out of the competition in the Eliminator against Kolkata Knight Riders but they were weakened by the departure of their star players at that stage.
This year, Royals missed out the services of Steve Smith for the whole season and named Ajinkya Rahane as the captain. Their expensive buys like Ben Stokes and Jaidev Unadkat failed to perform as expected yet the team conjured stirring performances. In Shreyas Gopal, Krishnappa Gowtham and Jofra Archer, they found new heroes. By sending Jos Buttler at the top, RR changed their fortunes and sealed entry into the playoffs.
However, a few factors did not work out well for the Royals team. Apart from Jofra Archer, the Royals lacked penetration in the bowling department. The Rajasthani team failed to make the most of Rahul Tripathi and Heinrich Klaasen in the early half and paid the price for it.
With the trade window now open before the IPL Auction takes place on 16th December, Rajasthan Royals have the chance of releasing a few players who do not fit into their scheme. Being the wisest spender of the tournament, RR can release these five players before IPL 2019.
#5 Stuart Binny
The Karnataka all-rounder is rather infamous in the Indian cricket discussion despite delivering a few memorable performances. Binny is regularly trolled on the social media but the cricketer has been churning decent returns in domestic cricket.
The 2018 IPL season was not a success for Binny, and he struggled to consolidate his position in the playing XI. In the seven matches that he played, he scored only 44 runs from 39 balls. The strike rate of 113 while coming out to bat in the death overs was extremely poor. Binny bowled only once and conceded 33 runs from his spell of two overs.
By releasing Stuart Binny, Rajasthan Royals can search for another seaming all-rounder who can take place of Ben Stokes in case he is unavailable. Binny was bought for 50L INR and it will be wise for RR to release the 34-year old Bengaluru player.
#4 Prashant Chopra
Rajasthan Royals in 2018 IPL auction bought Prashant Chopra for the base price of 20L. The 26-year old from Himachal Pradesh is an opening batsman, a right-arm leg-break bowler and an occasional wicket-keeper as well. The player received the opportunity to represent the Royals only once in this season.
Prashant was included in the playing XI for the match against Chennai Super Kings at Sawai Mansingh Stadium, Jaipur. Chasing 177 runs to win the match, he was sent at number five position when the team needed 78 runs more to win. Prashant contributed only eight runs from six balls and was never considered for the selection thereafter.
The 26-year old opener is a talented prospect in longer formats of the game but with a career strike rate of 113 in 29 T20 matches, he is not a great choice for an IPL franchise. Royals can release him and sign an Indian uncapped batsman capable for big hitting.
#3 D’Arcy Short
Leading to the IPL 2018, there was a tremendous hype surrounding the explosive Australian opener D’Arcy Short. In the Australian domestic T20 competition, Big Bash League, Short had set the stage on fire with his humongous scores. RR purchased him for a whopping price of four crores INR and handed him the opening spot.
However, the Aussie opener, struggled horrendously while batting on the Indian pitches for the first time. He was run out in his first two outings after scoring 4(4) and 6(3). He was incapable of coping with the pace and bounce of the Indian tracks and struggled to get going.
Short has plundered runs on the Australian pitches even after the IPL but he is not ideally suited for the Indian conditions. He has his weaknesses against the spin bowling and RR can buy a lot of players from the four crores they spent on D’Arcy Short.
#2 Ankit Sharma
The 27-year old left-arm spinner from Madhya Pradesh was bought in the auction by Rajasthan Royals for his base price. He made his debut at the tender age of 18 and soon established himself as a specialist in the shorter format. Sharma had previously been part of Deccan Chargers, Sunrisers Hyderabad and Rising Pune Supergiants.
The bowler, however, was rarely used by Rajasthan Royals in this season. He featured in the solitary match against Chennai Super Kings played at Sawai Mansingh Stadium, Jaipur. He opened the bowling from one end and conceded 11 runs in the only over he bowled. RR did not use him in any match after this game.
Rajasthan Royals already have two spin bowlers in K Gowtham and Shreyas Gopal. By releasing Ankit Sharma, they can look out for a reserve spinner who can be a useful back-up. Ankit has not played even a single match for Madhya Pradesh after his brief IPL stint.
#1 Anureet Singh
A hard-working right-arm medium pace bowler who regularly sends down a plenty of overs for the Railways team in Ranji Trophy, Anureet Singh, was bought by Rajasthan Royals for 30L in this year’s auction. The 30-year old was used sparingly and featured only in three of the matches.
Royals, this season, did not possess any world-class spinner but they packed their roster with some very good medium pacers. With Jofra Archer, Jaidev Unadkat, Dhawal Kulkarni, Ben Stokes and Ben Laughlin around, Royals felt no need of utilizing Anureet for a long time. He played in three games and returned with the bowling figures of 1/20, 0/12 and 0/10. He bowled only four overs in these matches.
At the age of 30, Anureet Singh will not be adding any extra miles to his bowling speed. His effectivity will decrease as the time rolls on and it may serve best in Royal’s interest that they release him for this season.