Rajasthan Royals have retained a total of sixteen players for the upcoming edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL), including former Australian skipper Steve Smith who is currently serving a 12-month ban for his role in the massive ball-tampering scandal during the Test series against South Africa in March.
The team relied on its proven match-winners and young guns who stood up and delivered in the last season. The likes of Jos Buttler, Sanju Samson, Krishnappa Gowtham, Jofra Archer and Shreyas Gopal are some of the names who sparkled and have been retained.
The franchise has therefore decided to retain most of the squad. Rajasthan Royals have made some crucial acquisitions in the previous season and build a young squad around some key players of world cricket.
Zubin Bharucha, head of cricket for Rajasthan Royals, while commenting on the retained players, said that the result of previous season have made them not to disturb the team combination.
"The results in the previous season have been impressive and that is why we have decided not to disturb the balance of the squad. We cannot wait for the start of the 2019 season and preparation has already begun," Bharucha said.
Speaking at the retention of the players, Manoj Badale, lead owner, Rajasthan Royals added, "We are extremely satisfied with the team we built in 2018 and hence will be retaining the majority of the players. We have a terrific atmosphere in and around the squad and it was a pleasure to be a part of this during all my visits last season. We believe we have the quality in this current team to have another successful tournament, however, there are always areas that can be strengthened, which is what we will be looking to do in the auction."
Royals have decided to release Australian batsman D'Arcy Short along with right-arm fast-medium bowler Ben Laughlin and South African Wicketkeeper-Batsman Heinrich Klaasen.
Besides this, the South African fast-medium bowler Dane Paterson and the Chinaman Zahir Khan from Afghanistan along with Dushmantha Chameera from Sri Lanka have also been released.
Speaking of the released players, Manoj Badale said, "After analysing our performances of 2018 and plotting our vision for the season ahead, we have decided to release a few players from our squad. We are grateful for their exceptional effort during the tournament last season and wish them success in their future endeavours; they will always continue to be part of the extended Royals family."
The Indian names released by the team are Jaydev Unadkat, Anureet Singh, Ankit Sharma, and Jatin Saxena.
The Indian players retained by the Royals are Ajinkya Rahane, Krishnappa Gowtham, Sanju Samson, Shreyas Gopal, Aryaman Birla, S. Midhun, Prashant Chopra, Stuart Binny, Rahul Tripathi, Dhawal Kulkarni, and Mahipal Lomror.
The International players retained by the team are Jos Buttler, Ben Stokes, Steve Smith, Jofra Archer, Ish Sodhi.