When the squads were formed ahead of the inaugural season, no one gave Rajasthan Royals a chance to win the championship. However, the Royals stunned everyone by winning the season against all odds. The Jaipur-based franchise defeated the mighty Chennai Super Kings in the final of the first-ever season.
However, they haven’t been able to replicate the performances in the following years. For years, the Royals from Rajasthan also had a major setback as they were banned for two years 2016 and 2017 after getting involved in the betting scandal in 2013.
Rajasthan Royals got closer to their best season in the recently-concluded IPL 2022 after reaching the finals. Starting their journey under the legendary Shane Warne to playing under the youngster Sanju Samson, the franchise has covered a long distance. Here we are going to talk about all the players who have served the franchise as the skipper.
In this article, we will take a look at RR’s all-captains in IPL history:
Shane Warne (2008-2011)
The legendary Aussie skipper Shane Warne was appointed as the skipper of Rajasthan Royals in the inaugural season. The franchise achieved the unthinkable by emerging as the champions against all odds. Notably, Warnie never got a chance to lead his national side throughout his career.
Shane Warne was brilliant with his astute man-management skills and led the Royals for the first four seasons. However, after the title-winning campaign in the opening season, Rajasthan Royals could not replicate their performances under the legendary leg-spinner. They finished 6th, 7th, and 6th in the next three years, respectively.
Shane Watson (2008-2015)
The Australian all-rounder was pivotal in all the success Rajasthan Royals achieved in the initial years. He was also the vice-captain of the franchise and filled-in for the regular skipper whenever called upon. During his stint with the Jaipur-based franchise, Shane Watson played under three different captains, including Shane Warne, Rahul Dravid, and Steve Smith.
Across his 8 years of service to Rajasthan Royals, the all-rounder captained the franchise in 21 matches. Rajasthan Royals won 7 of those games, lost 11, while two games were tied and one was ended as a no-result.
Rahul Dravid (2012-2013)
Rajasthan Royals signed the Great Wall of India ahead of the IPL 2012 to replace Shane Warne as the skipper, who retired from all forms of cricket in 2011. The right-handed batter brought a lot of stability to the Royals and kept the system going by entrusting the youngsters.
After a tough season in 2012, where the Royals finished 7th in the points table, Rajasthan Royals reached the playoffs in 2013 for the first time since the title-winning inaugural season. Under the captaincy of the legendary batter, Rajasthan Royals played 40 games and registered 23 wins.
Steve Smith (2014-2015, 2019, 2020)
The Aussie batter had the privilege to lead Rajasthan Royals for four years. Steven Smith was appointed the captain of the franchise in 2014 and the team missed the playoffs spot by a whisker after finishing fifth in the points table. In 2015, he led the team to the playoffs but he could not return to lead the side next year. Following that, the franchise served two-year ban for the betting and match-fixing scandal to return in 2018.
In 2018, Steve Smith was banned by the Australian Cricket Board for a year due to the ball-tampering fiasco. The right-handed batter returned to the franchise 2019 got the captaincy mid-season. However, he failed to inspire the team as Rajasthan Royals finished 7th in 2019 and their position worsened the next season as they finished at the bottom in 2020.
Ajinkya Rahane (2018)
India batter Ajinkya Rahane also got an opportunity to lead Rajasthan Royals in 2018 in the absence of Steve Smith. He did a decent job as Rajasthan Royals qualified for the playoffs for the consecutive season and the third time in the last four seasons.
Ajinkya Rahane retained his captaincy despite the return of Steve Smith. However, the team could not repeat their performances from the last season. After a string of poor results, Rahane was axed as the skipper and Steve Smith was re-appointed.
Sanju Samson (2021 – Present)
Ahead of the 2021 season, the franchise decided to revamp the whole system. They appointed the young Indian wicketkeeper-batter Sanju Samson as the new skipper with a long-term strategy. In 2021, Samson failed horribly as Rajasthan Royals finished 7th in the points table. However, the Royals kept faith in the youngster and let him continue as the skipper in the IPL 2022 as well.
Their faith in Sanju Samson reaped rewards in the IPL 2022 as the franchise had the best-ever run in the league after the inaugural season. Rajasthan Royals missed the championship just by a millimeter as they reached the final of the marquee league. They lost to the debutants Gujarat Titans in the big final as their search for the 2nd title continued.