To retain or not remains the question for Royals

It has been learnt that it would not be a big surprise if Rajasthan Royals does not retain any of its players and picks the likes of Steve Smith and Ajinkya Rahane using the Right to Match card.

It would not be a surprise if Rajasthan Royals does not retain any of its players and later picks the likes of Steve Smith and Ajinkya Rahane (in pic) using the Right to Match card.   -  S. SUBRAMANIUM

 

If Chennai Super Kings has already brought in its old warhorses — Mahendra Singh Dhoni and Suresh Raina — there seems to be a different picture in the Rajasthan Royals camp.

With the Indian Premier League (IPL) franchises set to submit the list of players to be retained for the season by next Thursday — it is learnt that the Royals bosses are in two minds whether to retain three players from the batch of 2015, or just pick them later, using the Right to Match (RTM) card.

Read: Kolkata Knight Riders set to leave Gambhir from retention list

While the officials remain tight-lipped on the issue, Sportstar has learnt from reliable sources that it would not be a big surprise if the franchise does not retain any of its players and later picks the likes of Steve Smith and Ajinkya Rahane using the Right to Match card.

It is believed that the top Royals bosses are willing to explore the idea of using the RTM as that would help them get the player (of their choice) at a lesser price than retention.

Ever since the IPL governing council came up with the new retention policy, the Royals management were not too happy with the decision.

Also read: Right-to-Match - a new tool for IPL franchise owners

On December 6 — the day the decisions were taken — Royals owner , Manoj Badale, had indicated that they would have preferred a different outcome. “We recognise that the BCCI’s efforts are towards creating a resilient and competitive tournament, however we would have preferred a different outcome on this occasion,” Badale had said then.

While it is more or less clear that the franchise would leave the players, an official announcement could be made sometime next week.

The Royals also need to settle the ‘home venue’ riddle. The BCCI has lifted its suspension on the Rajasthan Cricket Association (RCA). However, things would be clear when the Rajasthan High Court hears a case on the RCA issues on January 12.

If the Royals is to host the matches at the Sawai Mansingh Stadium, it has to acquire a go-ahead letter from the Rajasthan government. Last week, BCCI’s acting president, C. K. Khanna, had visited the RCA and spoke to the state’s sports minister, Gajendra Singh Khimsar, to take a stock of things. It raised hopes of Jaipur hosting IPL games after four years.

In case, Jaipur misses out, the Royals already has back-up plans in Pune, Guwahati and Indore.