CLT20 team profile: Rajasthan Royals

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A string of smart purchases for reasonably small money continues to serve the Royals well. James Faulkner and Kevon Cooper, particularly, have put in performances far beyond their reasonably small signing fees.

<b>Captain:</b> Rahul Dravid<br><b>Coach:</b> Paddy Upton<br><b>2012 CLT20:</b> Did not play<br><b>C365 Rating:</b> 7/10<br><b>Betting Odds:</b> <a href='http://www.paddypower.com/bet/cricket/champions-league-20' target='_blank' class='instorylink'>5-1</a>

<b>Strengths</b><br>A string of smart purchases for reasonably small money continues to serve the Royals well. James Faulkner and Kevon Cooper, particularly, have put in performances far beyond their reasonably small signing fees.

Few batsmen, if any, have scored more runs in domestic Twenty20 competition than Brad Hodge. While the Australian is off his country's radar, he remains a firm fixture to the hopes and ambitions of his adapted franchise.

All four games will be played at the home ground – Sawai Mansingh Stadium in Jaipur. This bodes well for momentum and morale, with almost no travel arrangements allowed to get in the way of practice and team spirit.

<b>Weaknesses</b><br>The suspension and subsequent banning of Shantha Sreesanth, Ajit Chandila and company for match-fixing has hurt morale. Shaun Tait was implicated, but later cleared.

The exit of Shane Warne is still a work in progress. The former Australian leg-spinner was instrumental in galvanising the squad over multiple seasons, but now Rajasthan must formulate life after him.

Questions remain over Rahul Dravid's role in a Twenty20 team. Captain and opening batsman, the responsibility is, indeed, on his veteran shoulders to answer his critics with big contributions.

<b>Star Player</b><br>Karnataka-born all-rounder Stuart Binny has emerged as a superb finisher and a solid all-rounder, doing his father Roger, who used to play for India, very proud.

<b>Bench Warmer</b><br>The Royals sport as many as four Australian recruits, with at least one of them, probably Faulkner, likely to fall down a pecking order dictated by a cap which demands no more than four international players per XI.

<b>They Said</b><br>"Rahul has become a world class Twenty20 batsman, which is an unbelievable achievement. As one of the best Test batsman he understands the game well. He got the job done like a surgeon." – Royals sign-off Aaron Finch.

<b>Squad</b><br>Rahul Dravid, Stuart Binny, Kevon Cooper, James Faulkner, Brad Hodge, Vikramjeet Malik, Ashok Menaria, Ajinkya Rahane, Sanju Samson, Rahul Shukla, Shaun Tait, Pravin Tambe, Siddharth Trivedi, Shane Watson, Dishant Yagnik.

<b>Fixtures</b><br>Saturday, 21 September: v Mumbai Indians, Jaipur<br>Wednesday, 25 September: v Lions, Jaipur<br>Sunday, 29 September: v Perth Scorchers, Jaipur<br>Tuesday, 1 October: v TBC, Jaipur

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