The Royals set the record straight at the auction with some important all-round signings in Chennai. Entering into multiple bidding wars through the course of the day, Rajasthan Royals signed eight players at the auction to register a strong squad for the upcoming season of the IPL.
At the heart of the auction-battle was the most expensive IPL signing ever, stemming from a gripping three-way battle between the Royals, Punjab Kings, and Mumbai Indians. Rajasthan Royals in the end emerged victorious, signing the former Royal and South African fast-bowling all-rounder Chris Morris for a record 16.25 cr meaning that Morris will be seen in a Royals shirt for the first time since 2015, as the most expensive IPL player ever. Rajasthan Royals also strengthened their Indian middle-order core with the signing of Indian all-rounder Shivam Dube for 4.40 cr after a tug of war battle with Sunrisers Hyderabad for the left-hander.
The Royals also added Bangladesh left-armer Mustafizur Rehman to their fast-bowling arsenal for the season at his base price of 1 cr. Mustafizur brings in big international and IPL championship experience with him to the Royals squad. Another left-armer added to the pace brigade is Chetan Sakariya, the Saurashtra pacer has already made a name for himself on the domestic circuit and the Royals were quick to swoop in and get him for 1.20 cr ahead of Royal Challengers Bangalore.
Rajasthan Royals further added to their squad with the signings of Indian spinner KC Cariappa (20 lakh), fast bowler Kuldip Yadav (20 lakh), and returning Royals in Akash Singh (20 lakh) and English batsman Liam Livingstone (75 lakh).
Rajasthan Royals’ Director of Cricket, Kumar Sangakkara, spoke on the auction proceedings: “It was an exciting auction. From our point of view we were targeting certain players and we’re happy to get our targets. We were looking at Shivam Dube for that middle-order spot in our batting line-up and finally got him. We’re excited to have picked up some talented Indian youngsters, all of whom add different dimensions to our squad. As a team, we’re delighted with the targets we were able to get and looking forward to working with the squad during the IPL now.”
Kumar Sangakkara also spoke on the Royals’ high-profile acquisition of South African Chris Morris: “We’re also glad to get Chris Morris with us simply for what he brings to the side, both with the bat and ball. With the ball especially, his numbers across the IPLs are really good and his ability to finish games with the bat down the order is useful. Yes the price was on the higher side, but we’re looking for a very specific role with Chris and really happy to have someone like him in our squad.”
Manoj Badale, lead owner, Rajasthan Royals also spoke on the auction acquisitions: “You can only really judge the auction after the tournament’s played out but we’re really pleased with the proceedings, in terms of the plans we had and the players that we targeted, we’re quite pleased with how it unfolded for us. It was strange to not be there at the auction, it’s the first auction that I’ve missed since the inception of the IPL in 2008 really. But it was quite interesting joining from afar and getting a different perspective on the proceedings in Chennai.”
“There’s going to be a lot of talk about the money we had to spend to get Chris Morris but as I’ve said on countless occasions, the auctions are a representation of a player’s value with regards to certain franchises for a particular role. As was evident by MI, RCB, Punjab Kings all going after Chris, he is a special player with special abilities, especially with his death bowling. What’s really nice is that he’s been a part of the Royals previously and we’re very excited to have him back," added Badale.