Coach McDonald on Rajasthan Royals’ Focus Areas Ahead of IPL 2020

Coach McDonald on Rajasthan Royals’ Focus Areas Ahead of IPL 2020

IPL

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Even though Rajasthan Royals changed their jerseys to pink last season, the team's form continued to suffer the blues in the twelfth edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL).’

Replacing Ajinkya Rahane with Steve Smith as captain during the season reflected in their performance on the field, but RR couldn’t do enough to make the playoffs, finishing seventh among the eight teams.

Ahead of the IPL 2020 auction, the Rajasthan Royals overhauled their squad, parting with their most-capped player Rahane. They traded the Indian batsman to Delhi Capitals in exchange of leg-spinner Mayank Markande and bowling all-rounder Rahul Tewatia.

The 2008 champions traded bowling all-rounder K Gowtham to Kings XI Punjab and Dhawal Kulkarni to Mumbai Indians, and released a total of 11 players.

Former Australian cricketer Andrew McDonald, who took over as Rajasthan’s coach this season, said, “Looking forward to the auction so we can make some key improvements to the playing list that could have a final affect on performance. One of my strengths is preparation and strategy so I'd be looking to bring that to the table and hopefully over the course of time that'll have an impact on the win-loss. Small margins last year. We only missed out on the playoffs by one game. So if we can win more key moments across the 14 games, there'll be more room for improvement.”

Among those released was Indian pacer Jaydev Unadkat, the highest-paid Indian player in the last two IPL auctions.

“During his journey, he hasn't performed to the potential that he'd like to and to the levels we know he can. He's a hugely talented bowler and he's had some really good moments in the IPL. His performance was a bit down last year. He brings left-arm variety. Not too many left-arm Indian pacers around. So there is that element that he is among only a few,” McDonald said.

The Rajasthan coach also said that their bowling would be a key area where they would be looking to improve.

“Improving the bowling will be a key area and one of the things I'll be looking to do as a coach. Most of the teams have strong bowling attacks and that goes a long way in T20 cricket. We're looking to strengthen-up the bowling department. We've got some good spin options. We'll have some complimenting pace options. The key is to having a list of players that you can play different styles of cricket with because there's our home venue of Jaipur but there's also the away venues where you have to win games. So it's critical to have all options and flexibility within the squad to be able to do that,” he said.

(With inputs from Madhavi Jain)

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