Where they finished in 2020Last, with six wins in 14 games and a net run rate of -0.569.
Potential XI1 Ben Stokes, 2 Yashasvi Jaiswal/Manan Vohra, 3 Sanju Samson (capt.), 4 Jos Buttler (wk), 5 Riyan Parag, 6 Shivam Dube, 7 Chris Morris, 8 Rahul Tewatia, 9 Jofra Archer, 10 Shreyas Gopal, 11 Kartik Tyagi
BattingThe Royals have a number of explosive T20 batters in their line-up. Yet, they have struggled to click in the last couple of seasons, where inconsistent performances have led to constant chopping and changing at the top of the order. They never quite settled on an opening pair until the very end last season, trying five different combinations at the top. They also struggled in the powerplay, where they averaged just 22.41, the lowest among all teams.
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BowlingJofra Archer, who single-handedly shouldered the burden of leading the attack last year, is expected to miss the first four games this season due to an injury. This is a bit of a worry for the Royals, as Archer was not just their best bowler last season but also a handy lower-order batter who impressed with his six-hitting. However, they would be happy with the fact that they have Morris to take over the role. Morris' capabilities as a death bowler are well known, and he also has an able partner in Bangladesh's Mustafizur Rahman at least until Archer's return.
Young player to watch out forSaurashtra's left-arm pacer Chetan Sakariya's story has been nothing short of a fairytale. Hailing from the small town of Vartej in Gujarat, Sakariya's family never considered cricket to be a viable career due to financial issues, but his passion and determination pushed him to pursue his dreams. In his own words, he "impressed" Glenn McGrath, under whom he trained at the MRF pace foundation, with his "nippy pace and natural swing". At 21, he became a mainstay in the Saurashtra side and also played a role in their Ranji Trophy title win last year. In the 2021 Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy, he was the team's highest wicket-taker, with 12 wickets in five games. He even had a stint as a net bowler with the Royal Challengers Bangalore during the 2020 IPL in the UAE, but it was the Royals who snapped him up for INR 1.2 crore (approx. US$164,000) at the recent auction.
Coaching staffKumar Sangakkara (team director), Trevor Penney (lead assistant coach), Zubin Bharucha (strategy, development and performance director), Sairaj Bahutule (spin-bowling coach), Rob Cassell (fast-bowling coach) and Dishank Yagnik (fielding coach)
Sruthi Ravindranath is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo