~ Skipper Sanju Samson keen to build a title-winning Royals squad ~

10 February 2022, Bengaluru (India): An extensive process, that involves scouting, observing, analyzing and evaluating several players, will see its culmination this weekend when the Rajasthan Royals, along with the nine other IPL teams, enter the IPL 2022 Player Auction to finalize the playing squads for the 15th season of the Indian Premier League.

Going into the Auction, the Royals will have ₹62 crores in their purse, having retained three players in the form of Sanju Samson (₹14 crores), Jos Buttler (₹10 crores), and Yashasvi Jaiswal (₹4 crores). These numbers may look straightforward on paper, but there is an elaborate and complex system in place behind the scenes which aids the franchise in deciding who to build their team around.

When the gavel is raised this weekend, it will not just be to decide the fate of the 590 players who are set to go under the hammer, but also bring to fruition the efforts of the Royals’ backend staff and management teams who have worked tirelessly to provide the best possible information for each and every player available at the auction. Right from preparing a database of every player on the globe, to consistently monitoring and analyzing them – everything is taken care of.

“This auction is really important because we know we could very well be preparing our base for the next 5-6 years. So, we’ve made sure to track everyone and give the opportunity to as many players as possible during the trials. Our goal is to now target the ones we think align with our vision, can embrace our values, and help our team get back to the top,” expressed Sanju.

Known for being pioneers in technology adoption, across the IPL, the Royals have embraced several tools and technologies for monitoring and performance measurement purposes. The technology comes into play both during the trials where select players are invited and when analysing the data gathered from a larger global pool of players i.e close to 2000 – which means every single player who has played in any T20 league, either domestic or overseas, is monitored.

Why is this information important? CEO Jake Lush McCrum explains, “The insights from the integration of technology into our trials process and the deep analytical review of the broader performance data, are both crucial in how we prioritise and value talent. With 10 teams bidding you will never be able to secure every player you want; therefore, prioritisation and in-auction flexibility is crucial. Technology enables you to create a baseline and then illustrates how significantly above that baseline certain players are. Every Crore saving in the auction is so important as you are then able to re-allocate it to build the best side possible.”

When the bell rings on the 12th, it won’t just be for teams to be purchasing players and assembling teams, it will be done with the purpose to create a long-term impact, an impact that has a multiplier effect on everything – but in a positive way. To bring to life the dreams of these individuals and create new stories to be written not just in GOLD, but in the pink and blue of the Royals.

Mega auctions have, in the past, seen some incredible picks, ones that may not have been the absolute superstars to the common eye but were vital in the larger scheme of things, with diligent analytical backing. Something that has been the hallmark of the Royals franchise in terms of their recruitment, which the team and Director of Cricket, Kumar Sangakkara feels could once again come to the fore, and provide the team with further clarity as they build for the potential with a view to the long-term, “Our analytical assessments are detailed, right from the information we\"ve collected on players to getting them integrated into a central database. We further filter the data, backed with a robust analytic process which enables us to arrive at the right metrics further refining our overall player identification process. It\"s really quite a comprehensive process.”

This will be the 5th mega auction in the history of the IPL, and all previous ones have been extraordinarily surprising for very different reasons. From acquiring Ben Stokes in 2018 as the most expensive player at ₹12.5 crores to smartly snapping up Shreyas Gopal the same year for the base price of ₹20 lakh; from signing a 39-year-old game-changer in Brad Hodge in 2014 to adding a young and vibrant Ravindra Jadeja in 2008, the mega auctions have always been a surprising episode albeit one with substantial positive impact for the franchise. With another mega auction on the horizon, the Royals will continue to build and aim for a future where talent is once again provided with a platform to learn and achieve, win and consolidate, in an environment where the team succeeds as a byproduct of this collective growth.

Auction in numbers:

~ Total purse: ₹90 crores

 o   Purse used: ₹28 crores

 o   Purse left: ₹62 crores

~ Players retained: 3

 o   Sanju Samson (₹14 crores)

 o   Jos Buttler (₹10 crores)

 o   Yashasvi Jaiswal (₹4 crores)

~ Number of open player slots for RR: 22

~ Number of open overseas players slots for RR: 7

~ Players registered for auction: 590

 o   Capped players available: 228

 o   Uncapped players available: 355

 o   Associate Nations\" players: 7

~ Number of countries represented in the player list: 14

~ Most expensive player in IPL Auction history: Chris Morris (bought by RR for ₹16.25 crores in 2021)

~ Most expensive Indian player in IPL Auction history: Yuvraj Singh (bought by DD for ₹16.00 crores in 2015)

~ First-ever player bought by RR at the IPL Auction: Shane Warne (for $450,000 in 2008)

~ Last player bought by RR at the IPL Auction: Akash Singh (for ₹20 lakhs in 2021)