New Zealand legspinner Ish Sodhi has returned to Indian Premier League (IPL) franchise Rajasthan Royals in the role of a spin consultant. Sodhi has represented RR for two seasons in 2018 and 2019 before he was released ahead of the auction in December where he was unsold.

He will work with RR bowling coach Sairaj Bahutule and Chief Operating Officer (COO) Jake Lush McCrum.

In a statement, the 27-year-old said he didn’t think twice before accepting the offer. “Having played for two seasons for the Royals, I have formed a great level of understanding with all the people involved with the franchise, and they have always been very supportive of me. Therefore, I did not have to think twice when this opportunity was offered to me by the Royals’ management,” said Sodhi in a statement on Thursday.

Allrounder Shreyas Gopal said,  “I am so excited that Ish is joining the Royals’ support staff this year. I love chatting to him in the nets about the strategy for upcoming matches, developing new deliveries and learning from his international experiences. I think him and Sairaj will be a great combination for me and the other spinners this year. Ish has actually already been a great mentor to me and really helps my preparation for matches. He is such a good guy to have in the camp, so I’m delighted he is coming back.”

In eight IPL matches, Sodhi took nine wickets at 22.44 and an economy of 6.69.

Winner of the inaugural IPL, RR entered the 2020 players auction with a fat purse of INR 28.9 crore and 11 slots to fill that included seven Indian and four overseas.

They spent INR 14.15 crore on India batsman Robin Uthappa and left-arm fast bowler Jaydev Unadkat, their most expensive buys at INR 3 crore, young Mumbai batsman Yashasvi Jaiswal, who was bought for INR 2,40,00,000, Kartik Tyagi (INR 1,30,00,000), Tom Curran (INR 1,00,00,000), Andrew Tye (INR 1,00,00,000), Anuj Rawat (INR 80,00,000), David Miller (INR 75,00,000), Oshane Thomas (INR 50,00,000), Anirudha Ashok Joshi (INR 20,00,000) and Akash Singh (INR 20,00,000).

RR finished a low seventh last season managing five wins and eight defeats from 14 matches with one producing no result.