Rajasthan Royals had to let go of Jofra Archer after four years as Mumbai Indians roped in the England quick for a whopping Rs 8 crore ahead of Indian Premier League 2022.
"It's obviously disappointing to lose out on a player like Jofra. He's been an integral part of our team for the past few years and grew in stature with us. But if we had gone on to retain him at Rs 9 crores, we wouldn't have been able to build the squad we have now," Rajasthan Royals lead owner Manoj Badale said on Monday.
"However, he was always on our list even though we knew he was injured for this year. We pushed as hard as we could and went all the way for him, but unfortunately lost out to a team with a larger purse. We wish Jofra the very best in his recovery and for the future..."
While Archer missed out on the entire season last year due to injury, the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) is looking at a June return for him in international cricket, subject to fitness.
After a dismal outing in the previous two editions, Rajasthan wanted to regroup this time. "Our priority this year was to build a strong Indian core, which we have done with the likes of Ashwin, Chahal, Karun, Saini, Devdutt, Prasidh along with Sanju and Yashasvi already retained," Badale said.
"Our focus was always on having a world-class XI, which is visible in the way we have gone about our business as we tried to utilise the majority of our funds on the starting XI. We've tried our best to also go for familiar faces, who we are excited to have at the Royals again. In terms of the international players, we've secured some amazing buys and I'm looking forward to seeing them in pink..."
Badale was happy to have roped in Navdeep Saini. "In terms of having a solid base, we are absolutely happy with the purchase of Navdeep. He's an experienced player and has been regularly plying his trade with the Indian team as well, so he compliments the other experienced bowlers," Badale said.
"I'll be honest. I think the first half of day two didn't quite go as we had planned. I think teams with a bit more money in their purse got the better of us when it came to our all-rounder targets earlier in the day. During the latter part, it was important to fill in the slots that required work, and looking at it now, we're delighted with the squad we've been able to finalise, which is certainly a mixture of proven experience and exciting youth," the lead owner said.