Indian Premier League auction 2011 January 10, 2011

Rajasthan to rely on Dravid, Warne to attract young players


Faced with a reduced budget of $7.1m at the IPL player auction, the Rajasthan Royals were limited to buying just eight players (of which only two were Indian) and now face another problem - how do they fill out the rest of the squad? The solution, according to franchise officials, will be to use the star power and proven leadership qualities of players such as Rahul Dravid and Shane Warne, and the presence of two current national Twenty20 captains, to attract and mould younger, talented domestic players.

Rajasthan were widely considered to have the weakest team on paper in 2008, but their combination of experience and young talent gelled under Shane Warne's inspired leadership, and they confounded the pundits to lift the trophy in the tournament's inaugural year. The same blueprint will be in place this time around, which is why Sean Morris, the Rajasthan chief executive, says they honed in on players who have captained their national Twenty20 sides, such as Johan Botha and Paul Collingwood.

"We had to be focused and have specific targets," Morris told ESPNcricinfo. "I think we've got the kind of dressing room you would build if you wanted a dream dressing room of leaders. We've surpassed our expectations. [There is] lots of talent that we can bring in to the dressing room that is full of international experience, creating a blend of incredible experience with the young, local players."

"All these Indian boys can have Dravid as a mentor," Raghu Iyer, spokesperson for Rajasthan, said. "The strategy is to have a blend of youth and experience. That is what delivered for us in season one. Yusuf [Pathan] was not the star he is now. [Ravindra] Jadeja was not the star he is now. They have all delivered for us and done extremely well."

There is a second incentive the team can offer talented, young players that other franchises might not be able to match - the opportunity to play regularly in the IPL. Over the first three years, a number of domestic players merely sat on the sidelines and watched while the more established players in the squad were picked for matches. They still benefitted from training with and being exposed to international players, but there is no substitute for competitive games.

"Our players are going to be playing a lot of cricket for us," Morris said. "The young Indian players will be looking at all the teams and players and thinking who am I going to compete with and when I am going to play? And they will look at Rajasthan and will be thinking I have a fantastic chance of playing."

The franchise plans to begin augmenting its squad with players from Rajasthan's Ranji Trophy team, which has had an excellent domestic season, knocking off heavyweights Mumbai and Tamil Nadu on their way to the finals against Baroda. "The domestic players from Rajasthan are going to get a lot of focus," Iyer, said. "They have done very well this season. There is a loyalty there and talent as well. We need to be riding that wave."

Among the players the franchise is looking at are 18-year-old Deepak Chahar, who made a huge splash on his first-class debut by taking 8 for 10 to dismiss Hyderabad for a Ranji record low-score of 21, and 20-year-old Ashok Menaria, who captained India in the Under-19 World Cup in New Zealand in 2010, after which he bagged an IPL contract with Royal Challengers Bangalore. Rajasthan's wicketkeeper, Rohit Jhalani, is another player the franchise has its eye on as they failed to pick up a keeper in the auction. In addition, the team is hoping to re-sign players that were part of its development squad for the first three years.

Naturally, the franchise is also attempting to sign some of the more prominent domestic players, such as the Mumbai pair of middle-order batsman Ajinkya Rahane and seamer Dhawal Kulkarni, by offering them the same carrot of regular cricket alongside established stars.

"At the end of the day, the domestic players are going to make a lot of difference," Iyer said. "It [the squad] is going to be lean and mean. Everybody has learnt that."

Tariq Engineer is a senior sub-editor at Cricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • BALAKRISHNAN on January 13, 2011, 7:05 GMT

    Mallyas have loist our affection. In Bangalore, if the match is between RCB and RR we will support RR for the sake of Rahul Dravid

  • BALAKRISHNAN on January 13, 2011, 6:53 GMT

    Sourav Ganguly was not taken by any of the Franchises is not because of cricketing reason alone.The Media both electronic and print and also the public of Kolkatta who thought that they can make or break a cricketer are responsible for this. Last three Yeears Shahrukh Khan had enough Of this and very cleverly got rid of Ganguly.He fooled the media and still foolimg them that Sourav is like his younger brother and he is offering "Mentor"s posat because there is no KKR without Dada. Good actor.As for Drravid is concerened he was wanted by three teams and RR selected him.'though the media always anti-Dravid was mentioning that there are no takers for Dravid.Mallyas have lost our affection. If the match is between RCB and RR we will support RR only.

  • Dummy4 on January 12, 2011, 10:44 GMT

    Rajasthan - Expecting Warnie Magic Again 1 Watson, 2. Uncapped Opener 3 Collingwood/Taylor, 4 Dravid 5, 6 and 7 Uncapped Hitter 8 Botha/Shaun Tait 9 Warne 10 Pankaj 11 Uncapped Medium Pacer

  • Shankar on January 12, 2011, 6:35 GMT

    1. Yusuf Pathan is stilla devstating T20 player and very much a star 2. Deepak Chahar may not play for RR - He is in advanced stages of discussion with another franchise, as mentioned in another article in Cricinfo. 3. With 4 captains playing in the same side, mentoring players will be a tough thing. Conflicting views, different schools of thoughts, etc. RR will have the same confusion as KXIP had last year. 4. I really hope the uncapped players bring tremendous grassroot solidity to this superb team, which has been spiralling downwards.

  • Dummy4 on January 12, 2011, 4:07 GMT

    This IPL bidding lacks logic similar to one earlier remember the exorbitant amounts paid to Manoj TIwary and Ishant sharma similarly this time around Umesh Yadav and Ravindra Jadeja make no mistake Ravindra Jadeja is a not a star he is just an oppurtunist and he will never take up teams cause

  • Dummy4 on January 11, 2011, 16:58 GMT

    i think rr needs a good indian fast bowler who has vast experince and open the bowling with tait..dravid good example for young playerhow to live professional & personal life better.pual collingwood,ross,waston,tait should be in the team as overseas player.warne as coach .manish pandey most valued uncaped player

  • bhargava on January 11, 2011, 13:41 GMT

    Since when is Ravindra Jadeja considered a star? You have got to be kidding me!

  • Dummy4 on January 11, 2011, 11:58 GMT

    Happy Birthday Dravid...RR has choosed good players...They can also go for the stars who are the best in First class...Good luck RR...

  • Dummy4 on January 11, 2011, 11:53 GMT

    Well , Rajasthan Royals find themselves in a tight spot with limited spending power . This drawback they plan to utilise to the max by luring local talent which is a very very good idea & all the other franchises should also try to work on similar strategy to showcase undiscovered potential performers . This in a way will also benefit the selectors of BCCI .

  • Dummy4 on January 11, 2011, 11:15 GMT

    RR one of the best out of 10 IPL teams

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