Royals happy to be back home, says co-owner

Steve Smith’s ouster from the IPL will not affect the team’s balance much, says Manoj Badale in a free-wheeling chat.

Manoj Badale...“We are definitely going to make it a memorable experience for the people of Rajasthan.”   -  Getty Images

As Rajasthan Royals returns to the Indian Premier League (IPL) after two years, it is looking to tick all the right boxes. According to Manoj Badale, the team’s co-owner, Steve Smith’s unavailability would not affect the team much as its “batting is very deep.”

The Royals boss spoke to Sportstar on Friday for a free-wheeling chat.

Q. As Rajasthan Royals comes back to the IPL after two years, what are you hoping from this edition of the tournament?

A. All that you can really hope for is that the players perform to the best of their abilities. Beyond that, not much is in your control — and [let’s not forget,] there are eight very strong franchises.

Contrary to most of the other franchises, Royals has all-Indian support staff. Why such a decision?

Zubin Bharucha has chosen his support team on the basis of merit, and with a view to a very specific structure — without having too many leadership voices.

Rajasthan Royals is "blessed" to have Ajinkya Rahane, who will lead the side in the absence of Steve Smith. Photo: Vijay Soneji


But then, the team also has Shane Warne as its mentor?

Warne is a legend of the game and his contribution to creating the culture at the Rajasthan Royals is significant. He will add a huge amount to the set up — as a mentor to Zubin, our director of cricket. He will be an advisor to Ajinkya Rahane.

Read: Warne returns to Royals, but only for a short stint

Has Steve Smith’s last-minute ouster affected the team’s balance to some extent?

Losing a player of Steve Smith’s ability, and especially his leadership would affect any other side. That said, we are blessed to have Ajinkya Rahane, who is more than capable to lead the side.

I don’t think it will affect the team’s balance, as our batting is very deep.

As a franchise boss, how tough was the decision to part ways with someone like Smith, whom the team had retained?

As I have told you earlier, Steve is a great player but he did exactly what was in the team’s interest, and before any rulings. There was nothing tough for us, as he made the decision.

What special would Royals offer when it plays its first match in Jaipur after four years?

We are really happy to be back home, which we lovingly refer to as our ‘fortress’. We are definitely going to make it a memorable experience for the people of Rajasthan, who have been deprived of quality cricket for a very long time. Royals will offer the best of its performances so that people go back home with only one phrase on their mind, ‘Halla Bol’.

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