The Royals have a tradition of unearthing exciting talent. Unlike other IPL franchises which prefer to buy the established and leading Indian and international cricketers, the Royals have a history of purchasing non-flashy, unknown and uncapped Indian and international players of all ages at cut-throat prices and also backing them and their talent to the hilt, with many of these players often ending up as leading international stars partly due to their performances in the IPL. The team is also known for its resilience, intensity, unity and never-say-die approach and have surprised many with stupendous performances on several occasions, especially against bigger and more fancied franchises. They won the inaugural edition of the IPL under the captaincy of Shane Warne, despite being written off as a title contender by the media and fans. They were also the runners-up of the 2013 Champions League Twenty20 under Dravid's captaincy. The Royals are often considered as the Moneyball team of the IPL.
The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) announced in September 2007 the establishment of the Indian Premier League, a Twenty20 competition to be started in 2008. In January 2008, the BCCI unveiled the owners of eight city-based franchises. The team is one of the eight founding members of the IPL in 2008. The Jaipur franchise was sold to the Emerging Media for $67 million, making it the least expensive team in the league.
The franchise is currently owned and chaired by Manoj Badale. Other investors include Ryan Tkalcevic, Lachlan Murdoch, Aditya S Chellaram, Shilpa Shetty and Suresh Chellaram. The Group acquired the franchise for $67million. Incidentally, this was the least expensive franchise in the Indian Premier League and probably the least fancied team in the league at the beginning of the tournament. Bollywood actress and Celebrity Big Brother winner Shilpa Shetty and her business partner (now husband) Raj Kundra paid approximately US $15.4 million for an 11.7% stake before the start of IPL 2 in early 2009, therefore valuing the team at $132 million. It made a pre-tax profit of $7.5 million in 2009.
In 2010, the BCCI decided to expel Kings XI Punjab and Rajasthan Royals from the IPL. The expulsion baffled captain Shane Warne who stated that he suspected that there might be some foul play and that the BCCI might possess some ulterior motives. The Rajasthan Royals however filed an appeal against the decision and the two parties went to the Mumbai High Court to decide  The Mumbai high-court adjourned that case until 29 October 2010. Both parties then agreed to adjourn the case again to 15 November because they didn't want it to coincide with Diwali celebrations from 1 to 14 November Later it was announced by the Royals that they told the Bombay High Court that they would be negotiating with an arbitrator to see if they could reconcile with the IPL  The arbitrator announced that while the investigation was ongoing the Royals would remain apart of the IPL for six-weeks and the BCCI would not be allowed to change rules which might go against the Royals. The six-week period included the player auction in which Rajasthan Royals participated. After this the Bombay High Court rejected the appeals of the BCCI against keeping the Rajasthan Royals in the IPL for six-weeks while the case was sorted out. It was estimated because of the losses in court cases and damaging reputation the BCCI decided not to pursue any further legal action against Royals' or Kings XI Punjab and announced they decided to keep them in the IPL.
Prior to the start of the inaugural IPL season, many considered the Royals as possibly the weakest team in the IPL, giving them little chance of competing well in the tournament. Evidence of the latter opinion seemed to be confirmed when the team lost its first match against the Delhi Daredevils in a 9 wicket loss. The fears were confirmed that the team was likely to struggle, but who would have ever though that this was the beginning of a new dawn for the team? But this team believed in writing their own script and there was something about their style of cricket, perhaps the simple attitude with which they approached the game. This simplicity was bought about largely by Warne’s captaincy, as he never had the fear to lose and was always calm in dealing with his players and pressure situations. In their first home game ever at Sawai Mansingh Stadium in Jaipur, they played against the Kings XI Punjab and won by 6 wickets as Shane Watson was declared the man of the match for his unbeaten 76 off 49 balls in what was a successful run chase. That was followed by a crucial 3 wicket win against one of the favourites to win the competition, Deccan Chargers in Hyderabad. The victory proved to be a huge morale booster for the side since this was their first away win and second successful run chase on the trot, as Yusuf Pathan made a name for himself with his first man of the match award for his bowling figures of 2/20 in 4 overs and a 28-ball 61. Watson almost replicated Yusuf’s all-round performance in the following match against the Royal Challengers Bangalore in Bangalore as another run chase was completed. In the 7 wicket victory, ‘Watto’ picked 2/20 in 4 overs and smashed 61 not out off 41 balls. Their next game was another crucial one, against the Kolkata Knight Riders at home and Rajasthan won convincingly by 45 runs as the diminutive opener from Goa, Swapnil Asnodkar received his first man of the match award for a fine knock of 60 off just 34 balls. They also managed to defeat the Chennai Super Kings in Jaipur, as Pakistan’s Sohail Tanvir continued to show his red hot bowling form in the game, picking 6 wickets for 14 runs in 4 overs, winning the man of the match award for the same. But a minor hiccup followed, as they were thrashed by 7 wickets by the unpredictable Mumbai Indians in Navi Mumbai. However the Royals won their next game by defeating the Kings XI Punjab and continued to win the next five games in a row. The Royals built up an impressive 11–3 record after their fourteen preliminary round matches; this included a consecutive 5-game and 6-game winning streak with an undefeated record on their home ground and a spot at the top of the points table. They were also the first team to book a place in the semifinals with their 65 run win over the Royal Challengers Bangalore. Deccan Chargers were denied their first victory against the Rajasthan Royals, once again due to the burly Yusuf Pathan, who won his second man of the match award for his 37-ball 68 as Rajasthan prevailed by 8 wickets at home. There were two more home games on the trot, as the Delhi Daredevils were beaten this time by 3 wickets with Watto again performing his all-round magic to bewilder the opposition, as he ended with 2/21 in 4 overs and hit a 40-ball 74 to guide the chase adequately enough in the end. Whereas, the Royal Challengers Bangalore were thrashed by 65 runs, as South Africa’s captain Graeme Smith won the man of the match award for his unbeaten 49-ball 75. Their next challenge was to conquer the nerves which can be developed when playing at the Eden Gardens in Kolkata. But the home team was given a proper thumping by Yusuf Pathan who hammered an unbeaten 48 off just 18 balls, and backed it with bowling figures of 1/14 in 2 overs as Rajasthan Royals won by 6 wickets. They were however, given a tough fight by the Chennai Super Kings at the MA Chidambaram Stadium in their 10-run victory. Followed by which, their last home game of the season was against the Mumbai Indians and Warne’s boys ensured that they remained at the top of the points table in the conclusion of the round robin stage, with a 5-wicket win as Tanvir once again was devastating, picking 4/14 in his 4 overs. They did lose to the Kings XI Punjab in the final round robin game, but easily made it to the semifinals and Sohail Tanvir won the first ever Purple Cap in IPL history, for taking the most number of wickets in the tournament. Shane Warne's captaincy and simultaneous coaching was praised and well received by everyone, including opposition teams. In addition, many players of the Royals team had consistently played well.Their semifinal was against the Delhi Daredevils in Mumbai, which was expected to be a tough contest for them. Yet, Delhi were walloped by 105 runs as Watto made this a one-sided contest following his 29-ball 52 and 3/10 in 3 overs, hence continuing his purple patch in the competition and assuring a place for Rajasthan in the final against MS Dhoni’s Chennai Super Kings in the same city. The final was a cliffhanger, which was ideal to end the first ever IPL tournament. Chennai could play their best possible to attempt stopping an in-form Rajasthan Royals. Although their team total after 20 overs was around 150, they took the match till the final ball until appropriately. With the scores level with one ball remaining, it was their bowling hero Sohail Tanvir who hit the winning runs to ensure that Rajasthan were crowned the champions of the first season of the IPL, making history in the process. Yusuf Pathan was declared the man of the match in the final as well, for his figures of 3/22 in 4 overs and 56 runs and thus became a household name ever since, beating the popularity of his younger brother Irfan Pathan and going on to represent India in the shorter formats of the game. The all-rounder Shane Watson won the man of the tournament award for scoring as many as 472 runs and picking 17 wickets. This was able to make him cement his spot in all formats of the game in the Australian team, and has now become one of the most valuable T20 players in world cricket. It was an incredible victory for an underdog team which had inexperienced, young Indian cricketers mostly who could mainly speak in their mother tongues, which Warne could not understand. Yet, he was able to unite them speaking only one language, CRICKET. This is why he is considered a legend till date irrespective of his off-field antics and his leadership is one of the success stories of the tournament and corporate do use him as an example to determine the cultural quotient of their firms. Rajasthan Royals qualified for the Champions League T20 that year, but the event was cancelled on the account of the terrorist attacks in Mumbai in November 2008.The Rajasthan Royals became the winner of the first IPL tournament, when they defeated the Chennai Super Kings by 3 wickets in the final played on 1 June 2008. With the scores level with one ball remaining, Sohail Tanvir scored the winning run and therefore prevented the match from being decided on a bowl out. Each player and representative on the team was awarded a medal and the team was presented with the DLF Indian Premier League trophy along with a cheque for US$1.2 million prize money. Many of the Royals' players also took home individual awards for their performance during the tournament; Yusuf Pathan claimed the Man of the Match award for the final match, Sohail Tanvir finished the tournament in possession of the Purple Cap (the IPL's leading wicket taker) and Australian all-rounder Shane Watson was declared the Man of the Series.
The Royals came into the tournament in South Africa as the defending champions, but not one of the favourites since Sohail Tanvir was ineligible to play for the team due to the ban imposed by the BCCI on Pakistani players playing in the competition. As well as the fact that Shane Watson, their star player last time around was unavailable for the whole season as Australia featured in an ODI series against Pakistan in the UAE. Without these two, the team looked slightly weaker than the previous season and players such as the countryman Graeme Smith, fiery pacer Shaun Tait and the aging ‘Fuhrer’ Shane Warne had to be relied on.
Rajasthan began their 2009 campaign against the Royal Challengers Bangalore solemnly. They were bowled out for the lowest ever total in the history of the IPL, a paltry 58 as they were thrashed by 75 runs in Newlands, Cape Town by the Kevin Pietersen-led side. They made a short trip to Durban to play the Mumbai Indians but that match was washed out due to rain, which made Rajasthan go at the bottom of the points table at that stage.
But on their return to Cape Town, they faced the Kolkata Knight Riders in a match which went to the Super Over, and Rajasthan were only able to win due to Yusuf Pathan’s onslaught off the bowling of Ajantha Mendis, knocking off the required 17 runs in just 4 balls. At the same ground although, they were defeated by the Kings XI Punjab by 27 runs.
Yusuf again played a blinder of an innings, an unbeaten 30-ball 62 to help Rajasthan Royals beat Delhi Daredevils yet again, by 5 wickets. But the team that they met in the final last season, Chennai Super Kings was too good for them in their first clash of the season in Pretoria where Chennai won by 38 runs.
However, Yusuf was at his all-round best as the Royals beat the Deccan Chargers by 3 wickets as he bowled well in his 4 overs, with figures of 1/19 and contributing 24 runs off 17 balls. They also were able to hammer Kings XI Punjab by 78 runs in their return match in Durban as Graeme Smith made the decibel levels on the ground increase with his 44-ball 77. Whereas, they took their revenge against the Royal Challengers Bangalore, prevailing by 7 wickets as the team rode on the unknown Indian pacer, Amit Singh’s spell of 4/19 in 4 overs. Then disaster struck. They lost yet another contest to the Chennai Super Kings, by 7 wickets and Deccan Chargers posted their first win against the Rajasthan Royals in the IPL, by a massive margin of 53 runs. The Royals managed to shut out the Mumbai Indians by a mere 2 runs due to Warne’s brilliance but were knocked out of the tournament with back-to-back defeats to the Delhi Daredevils by 14 runs and the bottom-ranked Kolkata Knight Riders by 3 wickets.
Seven players were dropped from the team and they were sent back to home. These players were - Mohammed Kaif, Dinesh Salunkhe, Paras Dogra, Anup Revandkar, Srideep Mangela, Ashraf Makda and Azhar Malik.
Rajasthan Royals ended 6th out of the 8 teams in the competition, winning 6 matches out of the 14 they played. The Royals failed to make it to the semifinals after losing their last two matches against Delhi Daredevils and Kolkata Knight Riders. It was a disappointing finish for Warne’s boys, who had won many hearts with their 2008 performance.
On 14 May 2009 it was announced that Rajasthan Royals would meet Middlesex Crusaders in a one-off Twenty20 for the British Asian Cup. It was the first time that an annual charity series to be played between the Twenty20 champions of the two countries. The match took place on 6 July 2009. The Squads were announced on 3 July 2009 with Rajasthan Royals included Mohammad Kaif and also saw a comeback of Sohail Tanvir. The match was won by Rajasthan Royals by 46 runs after scoring 162/5 in 20 overs and successfully defending it by 46 runs (Middlesex 116/7). The MoM was Dimitri Mascarenhas.
The Royals were back in India after their average outing in South Africa. This time they seemed to be a better outfit as they were to play in conditions which should have suited them the most. But they had to suffer an unfortunate start to the competition, with a narrow 4 run defeat to the Mumbai Indians at the Brabourne Stadium in Mumbai. The highlight of this match though, was Yusuf Pathan hitting the fastest ever hundred in IPL history, off only 37 balls! Even some of the Mumbai fans were disappointed not to see Rajasthan win, by the end of it all.
They went on to lose to the Delhi Daredevils by 6 wickets on one of their new ‘home’ grounds, Ahmedabad. And were again bruised badly by the Royal Challengers Bangalore, who won by 10 wickets. The team remained inconsistent throughout the whole season, winning their next four matches consecutively. One of the young Turks of the erstwhile ICL, Abhishek Jhunjhunwala impressed against the franchise representing his home state, Kolkata Knight Riders as his 36-ball 45 helped the Royals win by 34 runs.
Followed by which the Western Australian batsman Adam Voges hit 45 runs off 24 balls to help Rajasthan beat Punjab in Mohali by 31 runs. The team seemed to have adapted to the Ahmedabad conditions better with wins against Deccan Chargers by 8 wickets as Yusuf Pathan continued his good form against the team, while they beat Chennai Super Kings by 17 runs courtesy wicket-keeper batsman Naman Ojha’s 49-ball 80. But they lost against Chennai in their return clash as Murali Vijay’s hundred took the game away from them as well as were crushed in Delhi by 67 runs. But they managed to escape a Deccan Chargers attack, with a narrow 2 run victory in Nagpur and continued their unbeaten run in Jaipur though, as the out of sorts Kings XI Punjab were duly beaten by 9 wickets with English opener Michael Lumb winning the man of the match award for his 43-ball 83.
Once again, Rajasthan Royals ended the tournament miserably with losses to Mumbai Indians and the Royal Challengers Bangalore at home, and the Kolkata Knight Riders in the last round robin game in Kolkata. Consequently, they failed to make it to the playoffs for the second consecutive season as they finished 7th out of the 8 teams in the competition, winning 6 games out of 14 played.
The Rajasthan Royals, and the Kings XI Punjab were temporarily ejected from the league due to issues with their unreported ownership changes. The teams were reinstated with involvement from the High Court. Their owners were broken into several legal entities when the BCCI required the incorporation of the companies. Kochi was also at risk of ejection for the same reasons before BCCI cleared their new ownership pattern for the tournament.
The team management decided to retain the Australian duo of Shane Warne and Shane Watson for the following three seasons of the IPL, although Warne’s future continued to be uncertain. Yet, he decided to make this his final season for the Rajasthan Royals on the insistence of the team owners who felt that he was the ultimate source of inspiration for the team on and off the field. In the auction, the team’s funds were reduced since they were penalized by the BCCI in 2010 and as a result, had to pay a certain amount of bank guarantee as fixed by the High Court. But they possessed an adequate amount of money to buy some of the world’s finest T20 players, which they did not exactly.
They managed to buy back Australian fast bowler Shaun Tait for $USD 300,000 as well as South African bowling all-rounder Johan Botha for $USD 950,000. The other star players which they picked were New Zealand batsman Ross Taylor for $USD 1 million as well as ‘The Wall’ Rahul Dravid for half that price. England’s World T20 2010 winning skipper Paul Collingwood was also purchased for a mere $USD 250,000. The other players were mostly from the domestic circuits, but were confident individuals following Rajasthan winning the Ranji Trophy that year.
Rajasthan Royals began the IPL 2011 in grand fashion, beating the Kumar Sangakkara-led Deccan Chargers by 8 wickets, with the young Indian pacer Siddharth Trivedi adjudged the man of the match for his spell of 3/15 and the Royals continued their fine record against the Chargers. While Shane Warne defied age with a fine piece of bowling to assist Rajasthan in defeating a weakened Delhi Daredevils side by 6 wickets, with figures of 2/17.
However, their confidence was dented with two back-to-back defeats to the new look Kolkata Knight Riders in a span of three days. In the clash at Jaipur, they lost by 9 wickets courtesy a 100-run partnership between Gautam Gambhir and Jacques Kallis, Whereas in Kolkata, Lakshmipathy Balaji picked 3/15 in 4 overs on a minefield pitch in Eden Gardens to help his team pull of an 8 wicket victory. The match against the Royal Challengers Bangalore in Bangalore was washed out due to rain, which made Rajasthan’s task of making it into the last four much tougher. Shaun Marsh was in great nick and his 42-ball 71 resulted in the Royals losing to Kings XI Punjab in Mohali by 48 runs. However, they pulled together a string of a hat-trick of home wins, as Rajasthan chased successfully in all the three matches. The first was against the Kochi Tuskers Kerala, winning by 8 wickets. Followed by Mumbai Indians, the No.1 team then on the points table as they chased down a total of 100 with 7 wickets to spare. And then the Pune Warriors India were undone by Ross Taylors’ 35-ball 47 not out, as Rajasthan won by 6 wickets.
But again it was inconsistency which let the Royals down badly. They were given a proper thumping by the eventual champions Chennai Super Kings in both the matches they played against each other, within a span of five days. The in-form Royal Challengers Bangalore thrashed them by 9 wickets courtesy Chris Gayle while they were bowled out for 97 in their 8-wicket defeat to the Kochi Tuskers Kerala. Although this time they ended their round robin matches well with a win against the Mumbai Indians in Mumbai and in the process giving Shane Warne a fitting farewell, Rajasthan were dismissed from the competition since they ended at the 6th position out of the 10 teams in the tournament, having again won 6 out of their 14 matches played, with one being a no result.
Rajasthan Royals qualified for the playoff stage by finishing third in the group stage, thus grabbing a spot in Champions League 2013. They won against Sunrisers Hyderabad in the eliminator but lost to Mumbai Indians in the second qualifier, which led to their exit from the tournament.Shane Watson was declared the Man of the tournament.
On 16 May 2013, three Rajasthan Royals players Sreesanth, Ankeet Chavan and Ajit Chandila were arrested from Mumbai by Delhi Police along with eleven bookies on charges of spot-fixing in the tournament. The fixing happened in the matches against Pune Warriors on 5 May, Kings XI Punjab on 9 May and Mumbai Indians on 15 May. Later BCCI suspended the three players.
Rajasthan Royals retained five players - Sanju Samson, Ajinkya Rahane, Shane Watson, James Faulkner and Stuart Binny - for the seventh season of the IPL. Rajasthan Royals scored 65 runs off the last 17 balls at a strike rate of 382.35 to win the match against RCB.Shane Watson will lead the side in IPL season 7 and Rahul Dravid will play the role of a mentor.
Traditionally, the Rajasthan Royals usually purchase cricketers who are not very famous, unknown or uncapped i.e. not played for their nation, at cut-throat prices. The Royals are famous for their frugal spending in the IPL auctions, even during the mega-auctions held once in 3 years. They have even bought players who have never played first-class cricket such as Pravin Tambe and Dinesh Salunkhe. The players bought by the team are backed by the team management to the core with most of them getting a chance to play in at least a single match in an IPL season. However, there have been exceptions to the rule too, with the team also having purchased leading cricketers at various times in their history like Shane Warne, Graeme Smith, Rahul Dravid, Shanthakumaran Sreesanth, Munaf Patel, Mohammad Kaif, Shaun Tait, Ross Taylor, Justin Langer, Damien Martyn and Brad Hogg to name a few.
Many of the cricketers who have played for the Royals, having been bought by them as relatively unknown players, have ended up as leading international cricketers partly due to their strong performances in the IPL and backing from the Royals management. In the initial seasons, such players included Ravindra Jadeja, who was acquired by the franchise in 2008 under the Under-19 player quota and is today a leading member of the Indian limited-overs cricket teams, and Yusuf Pathan, the elder brother of the Indian all-rounder Irfan Pathan and a relative unknown in cricketing circles unlike his more-celebrated younger brother. Yusuf's brilliant performances in the initial seasons of the IPL earned him a place in the Indian cricket team, and was a member of the Indian squad which won the 2011 Cricket World Cup. Even Australian Shane Watson, who has played for the Royals ever since its inception, became a permanent, consistent and leading member of the Australian cricket team soon after his brilliant first season with the Royals in 2008. In the later seasons, these players have included Indian cricketers such as Ajinkya Rahane, wicketkeeper-batsman Sanju Samson, leg-spinner Tambe, whose performances for the Royals earned him a Ranji Trophy debut for Mumbai at the age of 42,Stuart Binny and Dhawal Kulkarni, as well as international cricketers like James Faulkner, Steve Smith and Tim Southee. Even off-spinner Ajit Chandila, who played only 2 first-class matches and was also convicted in the spot-fixing scandal, was one of the top bowlers for the Royals during the 2012 and 2013 seasons.
The home venue of the Royals is the Sawai Mansingh Stadium in Jaipur. The stadium was built during the reign of Maharaja Sawai Man Singh II, who was also known as SMS, hence the name stadium. It is situated at one corner of the Rambagh Circle. The stadium seats 30,000 and is one of the best in India, after the 2006 renovation.