By Devarchit Varma
Rajasthan Royals announced their list of five retained players ahead of the Indian Premier League (IPL), 2014. Shane Watson, Sanju Samson, Ajinkya Rahane, James Faulkner and Stuart Binny will continue to don the blue jersey for Rajasthan. While the list makes an impressive reading, with the core of the squad for the next season intact, there were a few players whom may feel they have missed out. Rajasthan’s decision to retain these five players for the seventh edition makes perfect sense, as they were the runners-up in the Champions League T20 (CLT20) and finished third in the IPL 2013.
However, the new ‘Right to Match’ feature will allow Rajasthan to retain only one more cricketer from their 2013 roster when the auction will be held on February 12 and 13. Let’s take a look at some of the key players Rajasthan have left out and the possible reasons for their omission:
Brad Hodge: The veteran Australian batsman was a key component of Rajasthan’s batting line-up in the previous editions of the IPL. His ability to do both — play a rapid knock or drop the anchor whenever required made Hodge a valuable player for the Rajasthan side, who always missed the ‘big names’ and power-hitters in the lower order. Ever since the likes of Yusuf Pathan and Ravindra Jadeja left the side, Hodge’s role in the franchise became crucial and with his vast experience. But perhaps, with age not being on his side, Hodge wasn’t considered for retention.
Kusal Perera: The Sri Lankan cricketer is on the rise. He has grown over the last one year and he can make good contributions at the top. He might have scored only two half-centuries for Sri Lanka in the 19 One-Day Internationals (ODIs), but the promise he has shown in the middle and the comparisons with Sanath Jayasuriya make him a player to watch out for. However, they may not have opted for him as there were more experienced international stars.
Pravin Tambe: The highest wicket-taker in the 2013 edition of the CLT20, Pravin Tambe, was one of the success stories to emerge from the Rajasthan Royals’ camp. The resolve shown by the then 41-year-old in the tournament held in India not only helped the Rajasthan Royals to reach the final of the tournament, but in Tambe, they got a quality spinner who complimented their depleted bowling attack, especially after losing three frontline bowlers in the IPL 2013 spot-fixing and betting scandal. Tambe’s recent exploits helped him to make his debut in the Ranji Trophy. However, his exclusion in the from the players retention list could be only due to the age factor.
Kevon Cooper: Trinidad and Tobago’s Kevon Cooper is certainly one of the best talents that Rajasthan had in their ranks. His right-arm medium pace, well mixed with a couple of slower ones and the exploits in the field made Cooper a valuable player.
Shaun Tait: Having lost some of their key bowlers in the scandal last year, the Rajasthan would certainly need some big names in their bowling department. The tearaway Australian pacer Shaun Tait has been a regular in their ranks, but his lack of consistency and wickets could be the reason for his exclusion.
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