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Combination questions for Rajasthan Royals with Ben Stokes doubtful

Middle-order balance is at stake, but they’ll be hoping their youth investment pays off

Where they finished in 2019: Seventh, with only five wins in 14 matches

Potential XI : Jos Buttler, Robin Uthappa/Yashasvi Jaiswal, Sanju Samson, Steven Smith (capt.), Ben Stokes, Riyan Parag, Shreyas Gopal, Jofra Archer, Jaydev Unadkat, Mayank Markande, Ankit Rajpoot/ Varun Aaron

Batting: Royals have retained their core of big overseas names and spent their money on young Indian talents like they’ve done in previous editions. There were quite a few standout individual performances in their dismal 2019 season but they rarely clicked as a collective. They will be keen to pin down batting positions and roles from the outset, although they have the option to keep the top six fluid.

The in-form Jos Buttler will take up one of the the opening spots and is likely to have the experienced Robin Uthappa or the young Yashasvi Jaiswal as his partner. Their captain Steven Smith has the penchant to stay at the crease and see off tricky chases, while a lot more will be expected from the mercurial Sanju Samson.

Most importantly, their middle order looks rather fragile without Ben Stokes, who is yet to confirm his IPL availability. While teenager Riyan Parag showed glimpses of promise last season, they might have trouble filling the middle-order hole left by Stokes if he opts out. Stokes will be hard to replace as they do not have a like-for-like replacement for him in their squad, but they do have David Miller as another overseas batting option. And perhaps Tom Curran can fill some of the hole at a push.

Rajasthan Royals’ full squad ESPNcricinfo Ltd

Bowling: Royals…

Sruthi Ravindranath

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