Paddy Upton is likely to return to Rajasthan Royals as head coach for a second stint. It is understood that Upton, who had played a similar role at Royals from 2013 to 2015, has been finalised for the head coach position which was left vacant last season. Former Australia legspinner Shane Warne had played the role of a part-time mentor in 2018, when Royals qualified for the knockouts.
ESPNcricinfo understands that Warne will continue to be associated with the franchise, but his role is likely to be more of a brand ambassador.
Once confirmed, Upton will form Royals’ central coaching group along with former Debyshire quick Steffan Jones, who had been appointed the franchise’s fast-bowling coach last season, and director of cricket Zubin Bharucha. Former Mumbai players Amol Muzumdar and Sairaj Bahutule have been retained as batting coach and spin-bowling coach respectively.
It is understood that Ajinkya Rahane is likely to be retained as Royals’ captain and he will be part of a leadership group, comprising former Australia captain Steven Smith and England wicketkeeper-batsman Jos Buttler. Smith had been axed from IPL 2018 in the wake of tremendous outrage over the Newlands ball-tampering incident.
Upton, who served as assistant coach to Gary Kirsten at India and South Africa, has worked with various franchises, including Pune Warriors in 2012, when he was appointed head coach of an IPL team for the first time. He then moved to Royals for the next three seasons and assisted Rahul Dravid, who was initially the captain and then mentor of the side.
Once Dravid became Delhi Daredevils’ mentor, Upton moved too, taking up the head coach role for two seasons from 2016. In both the seasons, Daredevils finished six and as a result the franchise parted ways with Upton after the 2017 IPL.