After winning IPL 2008, Rajasthan Royals did not reach the playoffs for four more seasons. They have earned three playoff qualifications since then, but the performances have still been unsatisfactory. Although Rajasthan Royals has been known for its uncapped talent, the franchise has also been home to a few legends. In this article, we take a look at the all-time strongest Rajasthan Royals XI if they played Test cricket.
Openers: Graeme Smith (C) and Rahul Dravid
Having led South Africa for over 100 games in Tests, Graeme Smith is the obvious choice to lead this all-time strongest Rajasthan Royals XI if they played Test cricket. While his numbers in Tests as a batsman are amazing, the southpaw was also influential in helping RR win its maiden title in IPL 2008. Hence, he gets into this XI.
Although he is a regular No.3 batsman, for the balance of this squad, Rahul Dravid will open the batting. The ‘Wall’ has opened for India in Tests in 23 innings. For RR, Rahul was the captain for a while before taking up a role in the backroom staff. The player also scored 1324 runs in 52 matches for the franchise.
Middle-Order: Steve Smith, Ajinkya Rahane, Karun Nair and Naman Ojha (WK)
Steve Smith and Ajinkya Rahane will form the core of the batting line-up. The duo played together for RR and have also led the team at different points. While Ajinkya is the highest run-scorer for the franchise with 3098 runs in 106 matches, the Aussie has 1070 runs in 50 encounters. Both are specialist Test cricketers and hence, will be part of this XI.
Rajasthan Royals have always encouraged young unknown talents, and hence, their history does not see a lot of established Indian cricketers. So, amongst options such as Sanju Samson, Robin Uthappa, and Mohammed Kaif, we have selected Karun Nair and Naman Ojha to be part of this XI. While Karun has a triple-hundred to back his case, Naman has played one Test for India and, hence, comes in as the wicket-keeper. Naman played 146 FC games and got a total of 9753 runs.
All-Rounders: Ravindra Jadeja
Ravindra Jadeja will operate as the sole all-rounder in the all-time strongest Rajasthan Royals XI if they played Test cricket. RR picked Jaddu for IPL 2008 from the U19 batch that won the World Cup. In the first season, the Saurashtra all-rounder played a few good knocks and earned the praise of the senior cricketers. In all, he played a total of 27 games for the Jaipur-based team. Stuart Binny and Yusuf Pathan are the other options for Rajasthan Royals in this department.
Bowlers: Shane Warne, Jofra Archer, S Sreesanth and Jaydev Unadkat
Shane Warne has 708 Test scalps to his name and is the second-highest on the list. He led Rajasthan Royals to the title in 2008 and is still an important part of the franchise in a non-playing role. Hence, he will act as the lead spinner of this XI.
In the pace department, we have Jofra Archer, Jaydev Unadkat and S Sreesanth. Jofra has taken International cricket by storm after his debut. He has been doing well in all three formats of the game. Although he has played only 1 Test for India, Unadkat enjoys a terrific record in Ranji Trophy. He collected 67 wickets in the 2019-20 season and was the highest wicket-taker in the country. S Sreesanth played 27 Tests for India and collected 87 wickets. If not for the controversies, he surely would have had a longer career.