The 14th edition of the Indian Premier League began earlier this month and has provided a lot of entertainment to fans all over the world in these difficult times. While some teams like Mumbai Indians, Royal Challengers Bangalore and Chennai Super Kings have found their perfect team combination, the others are still struggling. Meanwhile, there is one franchise whose situation is going from bad to worse with their squad getting depleted every other day - Rajasthan Royals.
Rajasthan Royals need to react quickly
Sanju Samson's side have had a difficult start to the season with two wins and three defeats in the first five matches. While they would be hoping to bounce back, they just seem to have very few players left in their squad to do the same. After an unfortunate injury to Ben Stokes in their season opener, Jofra Archer was also ruled out of the tournament. To add wound to the salt, Liam Livingstone and Andrew Tye also left for their home due to personal reasons.
The franchise are now left with only four overseas players in the form of Jos Buttler, David Miller, Mustafizur Rahman and Chris Morris. Since the men in pink don't have an experienced core of Indian players as well, Rajasthan Royals have started to look for potential players they can sign. While there are reports that RR might sign Rassie van der Dussen in the upcoming days, they will still have three vacant spots left in squad. However, the franchise are notably looking at the 'IPL loan' option to have the players be available immediately.
The IPL 2021 loan window got underway on Monday and RR are reportedly interested in signing a few players in this window. "The team is looking to loan players and has written to other franchisees but nothing is decided at this point," Press Trust of India quoted a source from the Rajasthan Royals camp as saying. The rule states that a player who has played less than two matches in the season can be loaned. With quite a few players eligible by this criteria, let us have a look at five possible overseas players, whom the franchise would consider signing in the loan window.
1. Mitchell Santner
The Kiwi all-rounder is one of the most under-rated players in T20 cricket. Santner is someone who can make valuable contributions in all departments, making him a match-winner in this format. In 52 T20I matches, the 29-year-old has a strike rate of 126.89 to add to his 60 wickets.
Santner is currently a part of Chennai Super Kings who have all the bases covered in their squad. With so many all-rounders like Sam Curran, Moeen Ali and Dwayne Bravo present in the squad, it is very unlikely that the all-rounder will get a game this season.
On the other hand, Rajasthan Royals are scheduled to play most of their upcoming matches in Delhi and Kolkata, where spinners are expected to get some assistance. With Shreyas Gopal not in good form, Santner could be a great addition to the RR side as he can also provide some much-needed batting depth to their side.
2. James Neesham
The 30-year-old is one of the most explosive cricketers in the world right now and can bowl some crucial overs as well. In the 29 T20Is for New Zealand, Neesham has a dazzling strike rate of 157.28 and also has 18 wickets to his name.
The Mumbai Indians player is very unlikely to get a game for the defending champions with Kieron Pollard in the side. With someone like Nathan Coulter-Nile also available in the squad, there is a high possibility that MI might allow Neesham to leave on loan.
For RR, the all-rounder could solve their middle-order woes where they don't have much experience. Neesham could also give them an extra bowling option and could prove to be a great signing for the franchise.
3. Jason Roy
England player is a quality T20 cricketer with his destructive abilities at top of the order known to everyone. In 43 T20Is, Roy has 1034 runs to his name at a scintillating strike rate of 142.2.
Currently a part of Sunrisers Hyderabad where he joined as a replacement for Mitchell Marsh, the 30-year-old has not featured in a single game so far. With Jonny Bairstow, David Warner and Kane Williamson already there, it is quite unlikely that he will get a game anytime soon. SRH also have backup options like Mohammad Nabi and Jason Holder, who would be given preference in case of any injuries.
Meanwhile, Rajasthan Royals have an opportunity to reunite the England opening duo of Jos Buttler and Jason Roy at top of the order, which would be scary for the opponents. With Roy being an interesting prospect, it will be interesting to see if the franchise go for him or not.
4. Tim Seifert
There is another explosive opener who has been warming the benches in IPL 2021. Tim Seifert has played 35 T20Is for New Zealand and has 695 runs to his name at an impressive strike rate of 133.14. Signed by KKR last season, he has not played a single game for the franchise.
With Nitish Rana and Shubman Gill opening and overseas players like Sunil Narine and Shakib Al Hasan available in their ranks, there is a very rare chance of Seifert getting a game for Kolkata.
Whereas, the Kiwi could be a valuable addition in the RR side, who are looking for someone who can be destructive at the top. While it would allow Buttler to anchor the innings, it will just add the required firepower Sanju Samson's side have been missing this season.
5. Ben Cutting
There is another KKR cricketer who might be available in the loan window. Ben Cutting is a utility all-round cricketer and can contribute with both bat and ball. The Aussie has played 21 matches in IPL history and has scored 238 runs at a whopping strike rate of 168.8.
With KKR already having a lot of all-around options in their side, it is very unlikely that he will get a game this season. Andre Russell looks in the mood to be playing all the games and the franchise might choose Lockie Ferguson ahead of Cutting in case of an injury to any overseas player.
Hence, the 34-year-old might want to get some playing time and RR might prove to be a perfect destination for him. While he will add the explosiveness in lower-middle order, he will also prove to be a handy addition in the bowling department and could be an all-in-one solution for Sanju Samson's side.