Rajasthan Royals dealt a huge blow this week as Ben Stokes was ruled out of the IPL 2021 after breaking his finger while attempting a catch against Punjab Kings. Stokes is a huge loss for the Royals. He is currently one of the best players in the world and was also in great form prior to the IPL.
Rajasthan has no like-for-like replacement for Ben stokes. Ben Stokes versatile nature helped Rajasthan management to build a team around him. Royals were already without Jofra Archer and now Stokes absence will add to the misery of the royals.
Rajasthan Royals find themselves in deep waters now. Kumar Sangakara and the company will have to come up with the perfect plan in order to save the season. Ben Stokes was majorly used by the Royals for his batting prowess, not for his bowling. The Rajasthan management must be eyeing within and outside the squad that can fill the void left by Stokes.
In David Miller and Liam Livingstone, Royals have got two batsmen who will have to step up until another solution is found. David Miller just played one game last season and before that he didn’t fare well for Kings XI Punjab. If Miller is played then Jos Buttler will have to open up the batting as David Miller is not a natural opener.
In case Liam Livingstone is played then it would be a like-to-like change for Ben Stokes, not in terms of quality but in nature. Livingstone has opened the batting before in English county cricket. He also recently played in the Indian tour and by now must have adapted to the conditions. Livingstone can hit the ball hard and far therefore, he may just be the man who can open and exploit the opposition in the powerplay.
In the first half of the season, Rajasthan Royals will play most of their matches in Wankhede. The Wankhede wicket is like heaven for batsmen as the boundaries are short and the pitch is flat. The Wankhede wicket has the most bounce in it out of all the pitches that are being used in IPL 2021. In such a scenario, Livingstone would be licking his lips as he will get to play on a fast and bouncy track with little to no spin on offer.
Livingstone or Miller should not be the only players on which the Royals depend on. Rajasthan must look for an established overseas opening batsman. A lot of quality overseas players are still on offer and the Royals must react quickly and go for one of them. Following are the players may be seen in the royal pink and blue real soon:-
To everyone’s surprise, this talented opening batsmen from New-Zealand opening batsman was unsold in IPL 2021 auctions. Conway had a great season in the shorter form of the game. He scored a lot of runs for New Zealand with a strike rate of over 150.
It was also very surprising to see Alex Hales go unsold in the auction. He had a great Big Bash Season. Hales also has the experience of playing in IPL. The English batsman has participated in a lot of T-20 leagues all around the world including PSL in which he was one of the best performers. Hales is an opening batsman and his experience could come in handy for the Royals.
One of the most in-form batsmen in the world. He has performed consistently in all formats of the game over the last 2 years. Labuschagne is not known for his big-hitting, but he can definitely play the anchoring role, while Buttler can be the aggressor at the top of the order. Rajasthan Royals already have a lot of players that can play the role of a finisher, like Riyan Parag, Rahul Tewatia, and the latest addition to the squad Shivam Dube.
Marcus Labuschagne had a great big bash season not only with the bat but also with the ball. He had a decent strike rate of 123, which shows how good he is in rotating the strike which could come in handy during tight pressure situations. With the whole pandemic situation, Rajasthan will have to act soon and come up with a decision in the next few days as the player first will go into quarantine and then hit the training sessions when the quarantine period is over.