Although the second phase of IPL 2021 is set to commence very soon in UAE, the franchises have already started their planning for the next season with so many changes expected to take place. Two new teams are set to join the tournament, which will result in a mega auction ahead of IPL 2022. All the teams will have to rebuild their squads once again as they will reportedly be allowed to retain only three players from their current roster.
While it is going to be a tough task for all the teams, Rajasthan Royals will also have to face quite a lot of dilemma. The franchise has some extremely exciting talent within their ranks which is only going to make the task more challenging. However, one can expect a few big calls from the management after a poor showing in first half of the 14th edition.
With players like Sanju Samson, Jofra Archer, Jos Buttler, David Miller, Ben Stokes, Rahul Tewatia and Chetan Sakariya to choose from, here are the three players which RR could end up retaining ahead of the mega auction:
1. Sanju Samson
Sanju Samson was appointed as captain of Rajasthan Royals ahead of IPL 2021 and it is very evident that the franchise wants to build a new team around him going ahead. The wicketkeeper batsman has been one of the most consistent players for RR over the years and there is no doubt that his services would be retained by the franchise, both as a captain and a batsman.
The 26-year-old has scored 2861 runs in 114 matches in his IPL career so far at a phenomenal strike-rate of 134.82. Samson registered his highest-ever score in the tournament in first half of IPL 2021, when he played a mind-blowing 119-run knock against Punjab Kings. While also trying to secure a place in Indian side, the Kerala-born cricketer is one of the players to watch out for in next few seasons and is certainly going to be retained by RR.
2. Jos Buttler
Jos Buttler has been one of the leading run-getters in IPL over the last few seasons. His consistency and explosiveness at the top is second to none and there is no doubt that he would be one of the leading contenders when it comes to retentions for RR. The English batsman is one of the best short-format players in the world right now and the value that he brings to the team with his experience cannot be ignored.
In the 65 IPL matches so far, Buttler has an outrageous strike-rate of 150 coupled with an impressive average of 35.14 along side 1968 runs. There will hardly be any better alternatives to Buttler for a top-order batsman and the franchise would most likely opt to retain the services of the talented cricketer, who is also a brilliant wicketkeeper and fielder.
3. Ben Stokes
Rajasthan Royals will have to take some tough calls if they are allowed to retain only three players. Ben Stokes and Jofra Archer are two big names that they have in their squad but the duo has been out of action for some time. However, Stokes might get a nod ahead of Archer since the latter's injury has been quite mysterious over the last few months and there is no proper timeline regarding his return.
On the other hand, Stokes is a proven talent in world cricket and is one of the best all-rounders in white-ball cricket. His stats in IPL are also quite impressive, having registered 920 runs with the bat and 28 wickets with the ball in 43 appearances. The 30-year-old is also quite flexible as he can play the role of a finisher apart from opening the batting. Considering that he would be raring to go next season after this year's disappointment, Stokes could indeed be the final player to be retained by RR ahead of mega auctions.