Rajasthan Royals finished off a poor IPL season with a loss to the Delhi Capitals as they finished 7th in the points table. The team’s campaign was marred with controversy in their very first game against Kings XI Punjab when opposition skipper Ravichandran Ashwin’s ‘mankad’ dismissal of the in-form Jos Buttler led to a huge collapse in their batting order leading to the side’s defeat.
This was the story of the side all season as they got into good positions but threw away games due to lack of composure shown by the batsmen and bowlers. High-priced players Ben Stokes and Jaydev Unadkat failed miserably giving innumerable headaches to the management.
Meanwhile, the huge discovery of the talent in 17-year old Riyan Parag and the outstanding performance of leg-spinner Shreyas Gopal will be rare positives for the side. Transformed into a side which spends a lot in the auction, RR are sure to tinker a lot with their unit and are sure to release some players.
On that note, let’s take a look at five players who RR could release ahead of the next season.
#5 Ashton Turner
Ashton Turner's terrific form ahead of the IPL didn't manifest into a good season for him. His maiden IPL season was one to forget for him because he got off the mark only in his 4th innings. Turner was entrusted with the responsibility of handling the middle order and finishing off games but he was dismissed for a duck in his first three innings and managed to score just 3 runs in the fourth game.
Turner's experience and ability to handle all kinds of situations might prompt RR to retain him but the weight of his failures don't support him and with many international stars set to feature in the next auction, RR might look for other options releasing him in the process.
#4 Dhawal Kulkarni
Dhawal Kulkarni has been a Royals faithful for a long time but his time with the side seems to be coming to an end after his dismal outing in IPL 2019. The right-arm medium-pacer was able to pick up only 6 wickets from 10 games and leaked runs at will bowling with an economy rate of 9.57.
Despite being given a lot of opportunities in spite of his failures, Kulkarni wasn't able to find his rhythm and after a confident start in the side's first game, his performances slowly started to deteriorate. Pacers like Varun Aaron should've been provided with more opportunities and RR will regret their choice to give Kulkarni a longer run than he deserved.
They have quite a large roster of young players and with players like Oshane Thomas in their side, Kulkarni might find his way out of the side.
#3 Krishnappa Gowtham
Not many do remember that Krishnappa Gowtham was bought for INR 6.4 Crore last season or that he was a part of the side this season. His contributions haven’t gone unnoticed, they just haven’t come from the 32-year old all-rounder from Karnataka.
Gowtham played 7 matches to pick up only 1 wicket bowling his off-spin and scoring just 18 runs, stats which aren’t worthy of a player of his supposed calibre. With the advent of 17-year old Riyan Parag who exceeded expectations, Gowtham’s place in the side was lost and with Shreyas Gopal in the form of his life, another spinner wasn’t needed by the side and hence he was dropped.
The team will be looking for fresh talent after a poor season and sadly, Gowtham doesn’t have age on his side and is likely to be released by the team.
#2 Ben Stokes
The most expensive buy at the auction in the history of the Rajasthan Royals, Ben Stokes, failed to live up to the price tag of INR 14 Crore last season and was set to be released but the team kept faith in him and retained him for this season. However, he had an even poorer season than last time around and the management’s patience might have run out.
Stokes managed to make just 123 runs and pick up 6 wickets in 9 games and though his fielding was top notch, it doesn’t seem to be enough to save his spot in the side. The slowness of the Jaipur track and the long line of batsmen ahead of him meant that Stokes didn’t have enough time to get set and score runs with the bat.
He always found away games easier and even there, his shot selection was pretty questionable and a much better performance should have come from him. With the ball, he was pretty expensive and was taken for runs by most batsmen who faced him and had an economy rate of 11.22.
Releasing Stokes will free up an enormous amount of money for the side to purchase other players in the auction and it’s about time RR found a new marquee player and this might result in Stokes being released.
#1 Jaydev Unadkat
After being bought for INR 8.4 Crore in the 2019 IPL player auction, Jaydev Unadkat seemed to be all ready to redeem himself after a horrendous showing in 2018 when he was bought for an even bigger sum of INR 11 Crore. His performances, however showed no indication of this and RR would have seriously regretted wasting their money on him.
Unadkat was tonked to all parts of the ground and plundered for runs by most batsmen and could pick up only 10 wickets from 11 games at a high economy rate of 10.66. There were many better pacers like Varun Aaron and Oshane Thomas sitting on the sidelines waiting for an opportunity and Unadkat was a huge liability to the side.
After two poor seasons, there seems to be no other choice for the Saurashtra pacer but to make his way out of the side and RR will want to get their choices right at least in this season’s auction.