Royals keen to start afresh

Royals keen to start afresh

Royals keen to start afresh

One of the worst hit teams in last year’s spot-fixing scandal, Rajasthan Royals will be keen to clear their off-field image with good on-field performances when they begin their IPL campaign by taking on a formidable Sunrisers Hyderabad here on Friday.

The Royals were left feeling betrayed when errant Indian pacer S Sreesanth and two other team-mates -- Ajit Chandila and Ankeet Chavan -- were arrested for allegedly indulging in spot-fixing in at least three IPL matches last season. But they hardly let that hamper their performance on the field.

Ironically, RR ended up being the third best team in the last year’s cash-rich event. Led by veteran Rahul Dravid, they dominated the sixth edition, despite lack of big names in their ranks.

New captain Shane Watson said the spot-fixing controversy last year was the case of a couple of bad apples in the side, and assured that the team had got over the distraction and was concentrating on giving its best.

Under the able guidance of Dravid, who will be seen in mentor’s role this time around, coach Paddy Upton and skipper Watson, the Royals will be looking at springing up surprises once again.

This year, RR have managed to put together a well balanced side. While they picked up players like Steven Smith, Tim Southee, Unmukt Chand and Rajat Bhatia, they managed to retain match-winners such as Watson, Ajinkya Rahane, Stuart Binny, Sanju Samson, James Faulkner and Brad Hodge.

Watson has always been a key player for the Royals and the team is expected to excel under his leadership.

RR has always given chance to young players despite their lack of experience. While 19-year-old Samson has mesmerised one and all, 42-year-old Pravin Tamble ended up being the match-winner on more than one occasion last season.

The Royals will be keen to strike the right balance this time as well.

The Sunrisers Hyderabad, who went down to the same opponents -- Rajasthan Royals -- in the Eliminator last season, will be looking to avenge their defeat.