Despite being written off right at the start, Rajasthan Royals executed the underdog story to perfection by winning IPL 2008. That said, since then, the franchise has not been exceptional in the tournament. They have managed to reach the playoffs only on three occasions since 2008. The franchise also endured a two-year ban in 2016 and 2017. Nevertheless, some fine cricketers have represented the outfit over the years. In this article, we take a look at the all-time best Rajasthan Royals XI in IPL history.
Openers: Shane Watson and Ajinkya Rahane
The player of the series in both 2008 and 2013, Shane Watson was influential in RR’s only title win in the inaugural season. Watto scored 472 runs and collected 17 wickets in that season. Although he has not played for them since 2016, Watto is still the second-highest wicket-taker and second-highest run-scorer for the franchise. Hence, he is an obvious choice to be part of the all-time best Rajasthan Royals XI in IPL history.
With 100 appearances for RR, Ajinkya Rahane happens to be the highest-capped player for the franchise so far. The Mumbaikar has scored over 3000 runs for RR and is the topmost run-getter for them. Rahane also captained RR for 24 encounters.
Middle-Order: Rahul Dravid, Sanju Samson and Jos Buttler (WK)
Rajasthan Royals signed Rahul Dravid ahead of IPL 2011, much to the appreciation of the fans. The ‘Wall’ did the job that was expected out of him. He nurtured youngsters around him, apart from himself, scoring 1324 runs in 52 games at an average of 27.02. He was also the skipper of the unit for 40 matches.
Sanju Samson is one of the youngsters who came up under the guidance of Dravid at RR. A kid when he started out, Sanju is currently the captain of the franchise. He also won the Emerging Player Award in 2013 with RR. Having played 92 games for RR till now, the Kerala batsman has accumulated 2376 runs and is the most successful wicket-keeper for RR.
Although he has been with them only since 2018, Buttler ranks No.4 in RR’s list of highest run-scorers. This speaks volumes about the impact he has had on the franchise. Batting at a strike rate of 151.52 and an average of 41.17, the Englishman has won many games for the unit.
All-Rounders: Yusuf Pathan and Stuart Binny
The Man of the Match in 2008 final, Yusuf Pathan, was one of RR’s major Indian signings ahead of the first edition. The Baroda all-rounder did not disappoint with his act. While he scored over 1000 runs for them, Yusuf also collected 20 wickets, thereby having a solid impact in just three seasons.
There was not much of an expectation from Stuart Binny when he started wearing the RR jersey. However, his performances were impressive, and the all-rounder became proficient in cameos with the bat and partnership breaking spells with the ball.
Bowlers: Shane Warne (C), Jofra Archer, Siddharth Trivedi, and Munaf Patel
It was Shane Warne‘s inspirational leadership that helped RR lift the title in 2008. The Aussie was also exceptional with the ball. In 55 games, he took 57 scalps at an economy of 7.27 and is currently the third-highest wicket-taker for the team. After retirement, the player joined the backroom staff for a few years.
While James Faulkner has taken 47 wickets in 42 games for RR, Jofra Archer has collected 46 scalps in 35 games. Of course, Faulkner has also contributed with the bat but for this specific XI, the Englishman would be a more fitting inclusion.
The domestic pace-duo of Siddharth Trivedi and Munaf Patel will provide core fast-bowling duties to this all-time best Rajasthan Royals XI in IPL history. The highest wicket-taker for RR till now, Trivedi took 65 wickets in 76 encounters. However, after a ban was imposed on him due to issues relating to a bookie approach, he never made a strong comeback. He has now moved to the USA to pursue an international cricket career. Munaf Patel is a World Cup winner for India and had many good outings for RR and hence, makes it to this XI.