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Reports : Ajinkya Rahane to be retained as Rajasthan Royals captain in IPL 2019

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SportsCafe Desk

01/09/2019

Despite retaining former Australian captain Steve Smith after he had to be axed following the 2018 sandpaper gate, Rajasthan Royals will reportedly keep Ajinkya Rahane as their captain. Former coach Paddy Upton would also be likely returning to the fray to take Shane Warne’s role.

Rajasthan Royals and Chennai Super Kings were the two sides who made a comeback to IPL last season after serving their ban for two years following the betting scandal in 2013. While CSK went on to win the title, RR finished a decent fourth with 14 points.

However, nothing much was expected by the first IPL winner last season as they had lost star player and captain Steve Smith even before the league started. After his brilliant stint of 472 runs in 15 matches in 2017, Smith was the go-to player for RR and his sudden suspension following the sandpaper gate was a huge blow for the Rajasthan franchise.

However, they had gone with fan favourite Ajinkya Rahane in his absence. After some blistering stints in 2015 and 2016, where Rahane had summed up 540 runs and 480 runs respectively, Rahane hasn’t crossed the 400-run mark in the last two seasons, but his leadership still managed to take RR to the playoffs. And according to ESPNCricinfo, Rahane would again captain the team this time with Smith and Jos Buttler also part of the leadership role.

Apart from that, RR has also reportedly finalized Paddy Upton as their head coach for a second stint after Shane Warne has left his temporary mentor’s role. Upton was Royals’ coach from 2013 to 2015 assisting Rahul Dravid for those seasons before eventually moving when Dravid moved to Delhi Daredevils

Remaining assistant coach to Gary Kirsten at India and South Africa, Upton is a sought after candidate and was first appointed by Pune Warriors in 2012 and his last IPL stint was with Delhi Daredevils in 2017. It has also been reported that once confirmed, RR’s core coaches would be fast-bowling coach Steffan Jones, Zubin Bharucha as the director of cricket, and former Mumbai players Amol Muzumdar and Sairaj Bahutule as batting and spin-bowling coach respectively, alongside Upton.

Though not a mentor this time, Warne would continue to be more likely that of a brand ambassador of Rajasthan Royals as per ESPNcricinfo.

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