Rajasthan Royals entered into the IPL as the least valued franchise of all, since it was bought for $67 million in the team auction of 2008 by the Emerging Media group, owned by the London-based NRI Manoj Badale.
It had several other owners, and that count increased as Bollywood starlet Shilpa Shetty and her business partner and now spouse, Raj Kundra purchased an 11.7% stake in the team before the start of the IPL 2009 in South Africa. The entrance of Shilpa Shetty has seen an increase in the team’s brand value in 2009 and 2010, and was ranked fourth out of ten teams in 2011.
In the player auction of 2008, Rajasthan Royals was surprisingly the most laggard team of them all, having missed out opportunities on picking world class foreign and Indian players in the team. They tried to be unique by not investing too much of cash on one individual player, so much so that their most expensive player in that season was India’s best fielder at a point of time and ex-Uttar Pradesh captain Mohammad Kaif, for $USD 675,000. They bought Shane Warne for $USD 400,000 and named him captain as well as coach of the team, since there was no designated icon player for the Rajasthan Royals.
The other players that they picked were the Australian all-rounder Shane Watson, the inexperienced Indian all-round duo of Yusuf Pathan and Ravindra Jadeja, Pakistan’s trio of Younis Khan, Kamran Akmal and Sohail Tanvir, South Africa’s Graeme Smith and England’s all-rounder Dmitri Mascerenhas.
It was clearly a low-key team and considered to be one of the weakest coming into the competition. So it remained to be seen if Rajasthan were able to make it in the top 5 atleast out of the 8 teams, let alone the last four or the finals.
Rajasthan Royals in IPL 2008 – 1st position
Rajasthan, under the coaching as well as captaincy of Shane Warne, opened their IPL campaign against the much stronger looking Delhi Daredevils at the Feroz Shah Kotla in Delhi. They were comprehensively beaten by 9 wickets as Sri Lankan all-rounder Farveez Maharoof took the game away from them single handedly with his outstanding bowling performance. The fears were confirmed that the team was likely to struggle, but who would have ever though that this was the beginning of a new dawn for the team?
In their first home game ever at Sawai Mansingh Stadium in Jaipur, they played against the Kings XI Punjab and won by 6 wickets as Shane Watson was declared the man of the match for his unbeaten 76 off 49 balls in what was a successful run chase. That was followed by a crucial 3 wicket win against one of the favourites to win the competition, Deccan Chargers in Hyderabad. The victory proved to be a huge morale booster for the side since this was their first away win and second successful run chase on the trot, as Yusuf Pathan made a name for himself with his first man of the match award for his bowling figures of 2/20 in 4 overs and a 28-ball 61.
Watson almost replicated Yusuf’s all-round performance in the following match against the Royal Challengers Bangalore in Bangalore as another run chase was completed. In the 7 wicket victory, ‘Watto’ picked 2/20 in 4 overs and smashed 61 not out off 41 balls. Their next game was another crucial one, against the Kolkata Knight Riders at home and Rajasthan won convincingly by 45 runs as the diminutive opener from Goa, Swapnil Asnodkar received his first man of the match award for a fine knock of 60 off just 34 balls.
They also managed to defeat the Chennai Super Kings in Jaipur, as Pakistan’s Sohail Tanvir continued to show his red hot bowling form in the game, picking 6 wickets for 14 runs in 4 overs, winning the man of the match award for the same. But a minor hiccup followed, as they were thrashed by 7 wickets by the unpredictable Mumbai Indians in Navi Mumbai.
But this team believed in writing their own script and there was something about their style of cricket, perhaps the simple attitude with which they approached the game. This simplicity was bought about largely by Warne’s captaincy, as he never had the fear to lose and was always calm in dealing with his players and pressure situations. Having one of the sharpest cricket brains, Warne shepherded the team’s march to the semifinal with his charisma working big time on his players, especially Ravindra Jadeja who is this season’s most expensive player.
Deccan Chargers were denied their first victory against the Rajasthan Royals, once again due to the burly Yusuf Pathan, who won his second man of the match award for his 37-ball 68 as Rajasthan prevailed by 8 wickets at home. There were two more home games on the trot, as the Delhi Daredevils were beaten this time by 3 wickets with Watto again performing his all-round magic to bewilder the opposition, as he ended with 2/21 in 4 overs and hit a 40-ball 74 to guide the chase adequately enough in the end. Whereas, the Royal Challengers Bangalore were thrashed by 65 runs, as South Africa’s captain Graeme Smith won the man of the match award for his unbeaten 49-ball 75.
Their next challenge was to conquer the nerves which can be developed when playing at the Eden Gardens in Kolkata. But the home team was given a proper thumping by Yusuf Pathan who hammered an unbeaten 48 off just 18 balls, and backed it with bowling figures of 1/14 in 2 overs as Rajasthan Royals won by 6 wickets. They were however, given a tough fight by the Chennai Super Kings at the MA Chidambaram Stadium in their 10-run victory.
Followed by which, their last home game of the season was against the Mumbai Indians and Warne’s boys ensured that they remained at the top of the points table in the conclusion of the round robin stage, with a 5-wicket win as Tanvir once again was devastating, picking 4/14 in his 4 overs. They did lose to the Kings XI Punjab in the final round robin game, but easily made it to the semifinals and Sohail Tanvir won the first ever Purple Cap in IPL history, for taking the most number of wickets in the tournament.
Their semifinal was against the Delhi Daredevils in Mumbai, which was expected to be a tough contest for them. Yet, Delhi were walloped by 105 runs as Watto made this a one-sided contest following his 29-ball 52 and 3/10 in 3 overs, hence continuing his purple patch in the competition and assuring a place for Rajasthan in the final against MS Dhoni’s Chennai Super Kings in the same city.
The final was a cliffhanger, which was ideal to end the first ever IPL tournament. Chennai could play their best possible to attempt stopping an in-form Rajasthan Royals. Although their team total after 20 overs was around 150, they took the match till the final ball until appropriately; it was their bowling hero Sohail Tanvir who hit the winning runs to ensure that Rajasthan were crowned the champions of the first season of the IPL, making history in the process. Yusuf Pathan was declared the man of the match in the final as well, for his figures of 3/22 in 4 overs and 56 runs and thus became a household name ever since, beating the popularity of his younger brother Irfan Pathan and going on to represent India in the shorter formats of the game.
The all-rounder Shane Watson won the man of the tournament award for scoring as many as 472 runs and picking 17 wickets. This was able to make him cement his spot in all formats of the game in the Australian team, and has now become one of the most valuable T20 players in world cricket. It was an incredible victory for an underdog team which had inexperienced, young Indian cricketers mostly who could mainly speak in their mother tongues, which Warne could not understand. Yet, he was able to unite them speaking only one language, CRICKET. This is why he is considered a legend till date irrespective of his off-field antics and his leadership is one of the success stories of the tournament and corporate do use him as an example to determine the cultural quotient of their firms.
Rajasthan Royals qualified for the Champions League T20 that year, but the event was cancelled on the account of the terrorist attacks in Mumbai in November 2008.
Rajasthan Royals in IPL 2009 – 6th position
The Royals came into the tournament in South Africa as the defending champions, but not one of the favourites since Sohail Tanvir was ineligible to play for the team due to the ban imposed by the BCCI on Pakistani players playing in the competition. As well as the fact that Shane Watson, their star player last time around was unavailable for the whole season as Australia featured in an ODI series against Pakistan in the UAE. Without these two, the team looked slightly weaker than the previous season and players such as the countryman Graeme Smith, fiery pacer Shaun Tait and the aging ‘Fuhrer’ Shane Warne had to be relied on.
Rajasthan began their 2009 campaign against the Royal Challengers Bangalore solemnly. They were bowled out for the lowest ever total in the history of the IPL, a paltry 58 as they were thrashed by 75 runs in Newlands, Cape Town by the Kevin Pietersen-led side. They made a short trip to Durban to play the Mumbai Indians but that match was washed out due to rain, which made Rajasthan go at the bottom of the points table at that stage.
But on their return to Cape Town, they faced the Kolkata Knight Riders in a match which went to the Super Over, and Rajasthan were only able to win due to Yusuf Pathan’s onslaught off the bowling of Ajantha Mendis, knocking off the required 17 runs in just 4 balls. At the same ground although, they were defeated by the Kings XI Punjab by 27 runs.
Yusuf again played a blinder of an innings, an unbeaten 30-ball 62 to help Rajasthan Royals beat Delhi Daredevils yet again, by 5 wickets. But the team that they met in the final last season, Chennai Super Kings was too good for them in their first clash of the season in Pretoria where Chennai won by 38 runs.
However, Yusuf was at his all-round best as the Royals beat the Deccan Chargers by 3 wickets as he bowled well in his 4 overs, with figures of 1/19 and contributing 24 runs off 17 balls. They also were able to hammer Kings XI Punjab by 78 runs in their return match in Durban as Graeme Smith made the decibel levels on the ground increase with his 44-ball 77. Whereas, they took their revenge against the Royal Challengers Bangalore, prevailing by 7 wickets as the team rode on the unknown Indian pacer, Amit Singh’s spell of 4/19 in 4 overs.
Then disaster struck. They lost yet another contest to the Chennai Super Kings, by 7 wickets and Deccan Chargers posted their first win against the Rajasthan Royals in the IPL, by a massive margin of 53 runs. The Royals managed to shut out the Mumbai Indians by a mere 2 runs due to Warne’s brilliance but were knocked out of the tournament with back-to-back defeats to the Delhi Daredevils by 14 runs and the bottom-ranked Kolkata Knight Riders by 3 wickets.
Rajasthan Royals ended 6th out of the 8 teams in the competition, winning 6 matches out of the 14 they played. It was a disappointing finish for Warne’s boys, who had won many hearts with their 2008 performance but at the same time a big reality check that this team perhaps is best suited to play in Indian conditions.
Rajasthan Royals in 2010 – 7th position
The Royals were back in India after their average outing in South Africa. This time they seemed to be a better outfit as they were to play in conditions which should have suited them the most. But they had to suffer an unfortunate start to the competition, with a narrow 4 run defeat to the Mumbai Indians at the Brabourne Stadium in Mumbai. The highlight of this match though, was Yusuf Pathan hitting the fastest ever hundred in IPL history, off only 37 balls! Even some of the Mumbai fans were disappointed not to see Rajasthan win, by the end of it all.
They went on to lose to the Delhi Daredevils by 6 wickets on one of their new ‘home’ grounds, Ahmedabad. And were again bruised badly by the Royal Challengers Bangalore, who won by 10 wickets. The team remained inconsistent throughout the whole season, winning their next four matches consecutively. One of the young turks of the erstwhile ICL, Abhishek Jhunjhunwala impressed against the franchise representing his home state, Kolkata Knight Riders as his 36-ball 45 helped the Royals win by 34 runs.
Followed by which the Western Australian batsman Adam Voges hit 45 runs off 24 balls to help Rajasthan beat Punjab in Mohali by 31 runs. The team seemed to have adapted to the Ahmedabad conditions better with wins against Deccan Chargers by 8 wickets as Yusuf Pathan continued his good form against the team, while they beat Chennai Super Kings by 17 runs courtesy wicket-keeper batsman Naman Ojha’s 49-ball 80.
But they lost against Chennai in their return clash as Murali Vijay’s hundred took the game away from them as well as were crushed in Delhi by 67 runs. But they managed to escape a Deccan Chargers attack, with a narrow 2 run victory in Nagpur and continued their unbeaten run in Jaipur though, as the out of sorts Kings XI Punjab were duly beaten by 9 wickets with English opener Michael Lumb winning the man of the match award for his 43-ball 83.
Once again, Rajasthan Royals ended the tournament miserably with losses to Mumbai Indians and the Royal Challengers Bangalore at home, and the Kolkata Knight Riders in the last round robin game in Kolkata. Consequently, they failed to make it to the playoffs for the second consecutive season as they finished 7th out of the 8 teams in the competition, winning 6 games out of 14 played.
Rajasthan Royals in IPL 2011 – 6th position
The team management decided to retain the Australian duo of Shane Warne and Shane Watson for the following three seasons of the IPL, although Warne’s future continued to be uncertain. Yet, he decided to make this his final season for the Rajasthan Royals on the insistence of the team owners who felt that he was the ultimate source of inspiration for the team on and off the field.
In the auction, the team’s funds were reduced since they were penalized by the BCCI in 2010 and as a result, had to pay a certain amount of bank guarantee as fixed by the High Court. But they possessed an adequate amount of money to buy some of the world’s finest T20 players, which they did not exactly.
They managed to buy back Australian fast bowler Shaun Tait for $USD 300,000 as well as South African bowling all-rounder Johan Botha for $USD 950,000. The other star players which they picked were New Zealand batsman Ross Taylor for $USD 1 million as well as ‘The Wall’ Rahul Dravid for half that price. England’s World T20 2010 winning skipper Paul Collingwood was also purchased for a mere $USD 250,000. The other players were mostly from the domestic circuits, but were confident individuals following Rajasthan winning the Ranji Trophy that year.
Rajasthan Royals began the IPL 2011 in grand fashion, beating the Kumar Sangakkara-led Deccan Chargers by 8 wickets, with the young Indian pacer Siddharth Trivedi adjudged the man of the match for his spell of 3/15 and the Royals continued their fine record against the Chargers. While Shane Warne defied age with a fine piece of bowling to assist Rajasthan in defeating a weakened Delhi Daredevils side by 6 wickets, with figures of 2/17.
However, their confidence was dented with two back-to-back defeats to the new look Kolkata Knight Riders in a span of three days. In the clash at Jaipur, they lost by 9 wickets courtesy a 100-run partnership between Gautam Gambhir and Jacques Kallis, Whereas in Kolkata, Lakshmipathy Balaji picked 3/15 in 4 overs on a minefield pitch in Eden Gardens to help his team pull of an 8 wicket victory.
The match against the Royal Challengers Bangalore in Bangalore was washed out due to rain, which made Rajasthan’s task of making it into the last four much tougher. Shaun Marsh was in great nick and his 42-ball 71 resulted in the Royals losing to Kings XI Punjab in Mohali by 48 runs. However, they pulled together a string of a hat-trick of home wins, as Rajasthan chased successfully in all the three matches. The first was against the Kochi Tuskers Kerala, winning by 8 wickets. Followed by Mumbai Indians, the No.1 team then on the points table as they chased down a total of 100 with 7 wickets to spare. And then the Pune Warriors India were undone by Ross Taylors’ 35-ball 47 not out, as Rajasthan won by 6 wickets.
But again it was inconsistency which let the Royals down badly. They were given a proper thumping by the eventual champions Chennai Super Kings in both the matches they played against each other, within a span of five days. The in-form Royal Challengers Bangalore thrashed them by 9 wickets courtesy Chris Gayle while they were bowled out for 97 in their 8-wicket defeat to the Kochi Tuskers Kerala.
Although this time they ended their round robin matches well with a win against the Mumbai Indians in Mumbai and in the process giving Shane Warne a fitting farewell, Rajasthan were dismissed from the competition since they ended at the 6th position out of the 10 teams in the tournament, having again won 6 out of their 14 matches played, with one being a no result.
Rajasthan Royals and the team in IPL 2012
In 2012, Rajasthan Royals first came in the news for announcing the official appointment of ‘Jammy’ and the evergreen Rahul Dravid as skipper of the team; following Shane Warne’s confirmed retirement last season. Then came the player auction, in which the Rajasthan team management seemed to have realized their mistakes of last year and looked at the external situations before the picking the players.
They were the most active than any other team in this year’s auction as they managed to bring players into their roster such as the Australian duo of Brad Hodge for $USD 475,000 and the comeback man, Brad Hogg for $USD 180,000. As well as India’s temperamental fast bowler S Sreesanth for USD $400,000. Their focus was once again to strengthen the foreign players in the team, as they had bargain buys of Sri Lanka’s emerging wicketkeeper-batsman Dinesh Chandimal for $USD 50,000 and West Indies’ Kevon Cooper for the same price, following his all-round antics in the Champions League T20 2011.
Some of the players who are likely to feature in Rajasthan’s success in the IPL this year are –
1) Rahul Dravid (India)
The captain of the Rajasthan Royals, Rahul Dravid has evolved to become a better T20 batsman, despite his classical style of batting working for 16 long years in ODI and Test match cricket. Born on January 11, 1973 in Indore, Dravid has the distinction of being the oldest player to feature in a T20 international as well as the only player to have played the first and last T-20 international of his career alongside Sachin Tendulkar.
He represented his home franchise, Royal Challengers Bangalore in the first three years of the IPL, captaining the side in the inaugural edition of the championship not so successfully, finishing 7th out of the 8 teams. Yet, Dravid the batsman has flourished as he has hit 1241 runs in 55 matches of the tournament he has featured in so far, at a strike rate of 118.75 and averaging 27.57, with his highest score being an unbeaten 75.
2) Ross Taylor (New Zealand)
The New Zealand cricket team’s captain has a long full name, Luteru Ross Poutoa Lote Taylor. Born on March 8, 1984, Taylor has now become one of the most dangerous batters in world cricket, especially in T20s. He plays more of cross-batted attacking shots rather than straight-batted ones, which means that the ball has a greater probability of going over the fence.
The feisty Kiwi was also a part of the Royal Challengers Bangalore team for the first three years of the tournament, and was a huge favourite of the Chinnaswamy stadium crowd in Bangalore. His average of 31.72 is impressive in a span of 34 matches out of which he was unbeaten 11 times, as he has scored 698 runs at an excellent strike rate of 135.27 and a highest score of 81 not out.
Taylor should be available for the whole season and is definitely an automatic choice of one of the four foreign players in the team now that Shane Warne will no more play the IPL and the fact that he would give much-needed experience to the middle order.
3) Johan Botha (South Africa)
Born on May 2, 1982, Botha has captained South Africa in the shorter formats of the game in the absence of Graeme Smith. All this has happened despite his bowling action being suspected for the most of his career. But Botha has went on to become the most effective spinners especially in T20 cricket, leading the Chevrolet Warriors team in South African domestic cricket, more popularly known as the team which made it to the 2010 and 2011 Champion League T20 editions.
However, his batting skills came to the fore in the IPL 2011 where Shane Warne promoted him to the No.3 spot as a pinch-hitting batsman. He played two match winning fifties in the beginning of the tournament. Rajasthan would hope that his all-round performances would help them win this year.
4) Brad Hodge (Australia)
The Victorian right hand batsman was born on October 29, 1974 in a place called Sandringham. He is said to have the highest number of ODI and Test runs for Victoria in domestic cricket as well as the highest run getter ever in T20 cricket in the world. Therefore, he is known to many as one of the legends Australian cricket never got to see as in his time, Australia were at their prime, with hardly any place up for the grabs for aspiring cricketers like him.
In the IPL, Brad Hodge has represented the Kolkata Knight Riders from the period of 2008 to 2010 as well as the Kochi Tuskers Kerala in the last season. He has scored 761 runs in 33 matches at an average of 31.70, with his highest score being 73. All those runs were scored at a strike rate of 116.53.
5) Brad Hogg (Australia)
George Bradley Hogg, more famously known as Brad Hogg, was born on February 6, 1971. Hogg was the man crucial in masterminding Australia’s World Cup wins in 2003 and 2007 as his left-arm spin bowling made many opposition batsmen clueless. Besides, he is a handy batsman lower down the order and a brilliant fielder as well. He only played 7 Tests due to the presence of Shane Warne in the team, and a mere 123 ODIs which is too low for a bowler of his caliber, as he retired from international cricket in 2008.
Yet, he made a successful comeback into the Australian team, but in the T20 format in the recent two matches against India. This was due to his exceptional performances for the finalists of the Big Bash this year, the Perth Scorchers. Rajasthan are banking on his current form and would hope that he would be as effective in Indian conditions, as they seemed to have already framed their mind of inducting him in the starting XI as Shane Warne’s replacement.
6) Dinesh Chandimal (Sri Lanka)
The budding Sri Lankan wicketkeeper was born on December 18, 1989 in Balapitiya. His rise in international cricket has been phenomenal, as he has now played ODI and T20 cricket for Sri Lanka since the last two years and recently made his Test debut against South Africa in Durban, where he hit fifties in both the innings to help his team win a Test for the first time in that country.
Chandimal is said to be the future of Sri Lankan cricket and is also of the Rajasthan Royals who will be relying on him for maintaining a high level of keeping wickets for the sides, since the Royals have always struggling to find a wicketkeeper batsman of international class. This will be Chandimal’s first ever IPL and he will join the list of several of his teammates who have participated in the competition over the years.
Rajasthan Royals and controversies
Rajasthan Royals has not been that short of facing controversies, since its inception in the IPL since 2008. The team was said to have links with Lalit Modi, the former commissioner of the tournament. Modi is believed to have rigged Shane Warne’s purchase in 2008 for the team, as apparently during the auction there was not even a single team interested in opening the bidding for the legendary Aussie spin king. Modi’s relations with the chairman and co-owner of Rajasthan Royals, Manoj Badale dated back to 2005-06 where he helped Badale set up a talent hunt in Rajasthan to discover budding young players from the state. On the other hand, another co-owner of the team Sunil Chellaram is said to be the brother-in-law of Modi. Hence, when Rajasthan won the IPL 2008 despite being one of the weakest teams to compete atleast on paper, doubts were cast on Modi engineering Rajasthan’s victory in the competition. Perhaps it was due to the alleged connections that Rajasthan Royals had with Lalit Modi, that it was unceremoniously dumped by the BCCI in late 2010 alongside Kings XI Punjab. However, the Bombay High Court’s decision went in the favour of the team, and consequently the BCCI had to keep them in the competition.
In 2009, Shane Warne was involved in a controversial act of having a sip of beer which one of the members of the Pretoria crowd offered him, at the end of a strategic timeout before he came out to field in the match against the Royal Challengers Bangalore. He was considered of bringing the game into disrepute and not setting a right example for the youth, which aspires to play cricket in the future. It did bring negative publicity to the Rajasthan Royals, since Warne was their captain and so he was the man who was the face of the team.
In 2010 as well, Ravindra Jadeja was not permitted to play for the Rajasthan Royals by the BCCI because of he having a contractual dispute with the team. Rajasthan perhaps made a blunder in mentioning the exact terms of the contract to Jadeja, which was certainly unaware and the young player had to bear the brunt of it as well as the team eventually, since they finished second last in that year’s competition.
Come the 2011 IPL auction and Rajasthan Royals were surprisingly amongst the least active franchises when it came to changing the team which failed in the last two seasons, although they retained Shane Warne and Shane Watson. Their most expensive player in the auction was New Zealand’s Ross Taylor, who was purchased for $USD 1 million, which again proved how Rajasthan were averse in spending the entire purse of $USD 7 million available to them. The team’s biggest weakness is no quality Indian players in the squad, and usually that has gone on to make a massive difference between the results of teams in the IPL.
Interesting facts about Rajasthan Royals
1) Rajasthan Royals was the least expensive team to be purchased in the IPL team auction of 2008, for $USD 67 million.
2) Rajasthan Royals is the only team to have entered into a global alliance in 2010 alongside England’s Hampshire, South Africa’s Cape Cobras and West Indies’ Trinidad and Tobago.
3) Rajasthan Royals was one of the first teams to be involved in a match entering the Super Over, which was against the Kolkata Knight Riders in 2009.
4) Rajasthan was amongst the top three teams which had the most brand value in the tournament as of 2010, after the Chennai Super Kings and Kolkata Knight Riders.
5) Shane Warne is the only foreign captain to have led one team for all the four seasons in the IPL and the third alongside Chennai Super Kings’ MS Dhoni and Mumbai Indians’ Sachin Tendulkar to do so.
6) Warne was also the only overseas captain for any team in the IPL 2008 for all the matches in the tournament.
7) The IPL 2008 was Warne’s first assignment as captain of any team in his career.
8) Shane Warne is the highest wicket-taker for the Rajasthan Royals of all time, with 57 wickets in 55 matches with his best figures being 4/21.
9) Yusuf Pathan is the highest run-getter for the Rajasthan Royals of all time, with 1011 runs in 43 matches with his best score being 100.
10) Watson has the record of hitting the highest individual score in ODIS by an Australian, an unbeaten 132-ball 185 against Bangladesh in 2011.
11) The duo of Rahul Dravid and Ross Taylor represented the Royal Challengers Bangalore in the first three seasons of the IPL.
12) The duo of Brad Hodge and S Sreesanth represented the now defunct Kochi Tuskers Kerala team, in the IPL 2010.
13) Brad Hodge of Australia is the highest run-getter in T20 cricket as a whole.
14) Brad Hogg is the second highest wicket taker for Australia in World Cup cricket.
15) Dmitri Mascerenhas was the first player from England to feature in the IPL, and he had played for the Rajasthan Royals in the 2008 season.
16) Rajasthan Royals had never picked a player from the West Indies, until this year as Trinidad and Tobago’s Kevon Cooper was signed up for $USD 50,000.