New Delhi: Rajasthan Royals won the inaugural edition of the Indian Premier League in 2008 but since then they have not managed to attain anything of note in the cash-rich tournament. In the last season, they had a good run in the first half of the tournament by winning the first three matches but later lost the steam. They lost a couple of close matches which ruined their chances of qualifying for the play-offs.
Their skipper Rahul Dravid and Ajinkya Rahane emerged as a magnificent opening pair and provided them solid starts in most of the matches. This year they bought overseas players like James Faulkner, Kushal Perera and Fidel Edwards and included fine domestic cricketers like Harmeet Singh, Sachin Baby and Sanju Samson.
Though the bowling lacks bite, Rajasthan have batsmen who can make a difference in Twenty20. Dravid's achievements in IPL 5 are noteworthy, while Rahane is their best bet after Shane Watson who will be available for the entire 2013 season. In Brad Hodge and Owais Shah they have two veteran Twenty20 batsman who can absorb pressure and accelerate the innings. Much will be expected from Brad Hogg and Kevon Cooper, while Samuel Badree is a fine reserve bowler to have. Considering Faulkner's recent domestic form he should enter the playing XI to bolster an attack reliant on Stuart Binny, Siddharth Trivedi and Shaun Tait.
Under Dravid's coaching and captaincy, Rajasthan have the goods to make an impact in IPL 6.
Key Players: Rahul Dravid, Brad Hodge, Ajinkya Rahane, Shane Watson
Players Retained: Rahul Dravid, Ajinkya Rahane, Ajit Chandila, Ankeet Chavan, Ashok Menaria, Sreesanth, Shreevats Goswami, Siddharth Trivedi, Stuart Binny, Shane Watson, Brad Hogg, Kevon Cooper, Brad Hodge, Shaun Tait
Players Dropped: Johan Botha, Deepak Chahar, Dinesh Chandimal, Samad Fallah, Aditya Dole, Faiz Fazal, Sumit Narwal, Pankaj Singh, Amit Pauniker, Abhishek Raut, Pinal Shah
Players Bought: James Faulkner ($400,000), Fidel Edwards ($210,000), Kushal Perera ($20,000). Harmeet Singh, Sachin Baby, Rahul Shukla and Sanju Samson (through contract).
Foreign Players: Shane Watson, Brad Hogg, Kevon Cooper, Brad Hodge, Shaun Tait, James Faulkner, Kushal Perera, Fidel Edwards
Domestic Players: Rahul Dravid, Ajinkya Rahane, Ajit Chandila, Ankeet Chavan, Ashok Menaria, Sreesanth, Shreevats Goswami, Siddharth Trivedi, Stuart Binny, Harmeet Singh, Sachin Baby, Rahul Shukla, Sanju Samson