Rajasthan Royals on Tuesday announced their final squad of 16 retained players for the IPL 2023 season.

Royals’ Director of Cricket and Head Coach Kumar Sangakkara spoke about the thought process and approach that the management adopted to pick their 16-member squad.

“We obviously had a brilliant season last year but fell short in the end in the final. The team that we\"ve had has been extraordinary in each department, and we are delighted at the prospect of retaining the core group which has contributed immensely to the success of this franchise. At the same time, as a high performance team, you have to keep evolving and looking for squad enhancing opportunities in order to stay at the top. Our ambition is to go that extra mile in IPL 2023, and hence some decisions have been made which give us greater flexibility in the auction to compete with other teams and go for players who we feel can add value to this squad."

Retention day also brings with it the inevitable decision of letting some players go as the franchise starts planning for their way forward. 

Overseas players Jimmy Neesham, Nathan Coulter Nile, Daryl Mitchell, Rassie van der Dussen and Corbin Bosch (who came in as Coulter Nile’s replacement last season) have been released from the squad. As for the Indian players, Karun Nair, Anunay Singh, Shubham Garhwal and Tejas Baroka have also been released.

When asked how the management arrived at the decisions and how difficult it was to release the players, Sanga said, 

"As you can imagine, we are of course gutted that we\"re having to let go of some of the players who have been an important part of our set-up last season, both on and off the field, and we want to take this opportunity to thank them for their immense contribution to the Royals. We wish them all the best for what\"s to come, and hope to cross paths with them soon."

With the mini-auction scheduled on December 23 in Kochi, the Royals will now look forward to building a stronger squad for the upcoming season.