IPL 2020: Smith should take the brave call and drop himself
Steve Smith of Rajasthan Royals reacts after losing his wicket during the match against Delhi Capitals. (IPL)
Dubai - Smith, who has been known for his unorthodox batting, could go left field and take the brave call of dropping himself and bringing in David Miller
By James Jose
Published: Thu 15 Oct 2020, 11:55 PM
Last updated: Fri 16 Oct 2020, 2:09 AM
They were the first team to touchdown in the UAE and were one of the two franchises, the other being Kings XI Punjab, to hit the ground running in training.
They boasted a squad that was the envy of others and, staying true to their philosophy, a marriage between upstarts and superstars.
When you have a line-up with names like Steve Smith, Ben Stokes, Jos Buttler and Jofra Archer among the creme de la creme of foreign imports and Indian talent like Sanju Samson, Yashasvi Jaiswal, Riyan Parag, Robin Uthappa and the new-found Rahul Tewatia, they should be acing the IPL.
Yet, the Rajasthan Royals could do no worse than Kings XI Punjab. Halfway through the tournament and heading towards the business end, the Royals have flattered to deceive.
It only goes to show that looking strong on paper doesn't mean that success is a given and it doesn't always translate into results. And it also means that one needs to strike it right as far as the combination is concerned.
Royals have tinkered with their line-up, more often than not, also in part due to the absence of Stokes during the initial stages.
And while his availability might seem like an embarrassment of riches, it has also meant players playing out of their roles. The thing about the most abridged form of the game is the flexibility. But then, when you have a squad such as the Royals, it is paramount that you strike the right balance and get it right.
Worryingly enough, captain Smith's dwindling returns has had a huge part to play in their flagging fortunes. Since their first two fixtures in Sharjah, Smith's form has tapered off and the Australian's batting is nowhere near the epoch-making heights of the 2019 Ashes.
The Royals look a tad too top heavy and perhaps it is time for the Royals to not flaunt all their cards at one go and keep some close to their chest.
Smith should maybe drop down the order along with Stokes so that they can shepherd the middle and the lower order.
Sending Samson, who looks great on the eye, up top with Buttler could be an option or maybe even Robin Uthappa, who has traditionally been an opener. The Karnataka batsman has looked out of sorts in the middle and he or either Samson could also come in at No.3 with Smith and Stokes and four and five.
Or Smith, who has been known for his unorthodox batting, could go left field and take the brave call of dropping himself and bringing in David Miller.
The South African, formerly with Kings XI Punjab, with whom he smashed a hurricane 101 not out off 38 deliveries against the Royal Challengers Bangalore in 2013, is still warming the benches and running drinks.
The left-hander's inclusion just might be what is needed for Rajasthan to get their royal swagger back.
Your call, captain.