Sri Lankan legend Lasith Malinga is delighted to join the Rajasthan Royals as the new bowling coach ahead of the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2022 and said the squad has a fantastic group of young Indian players like Praisdh Krishna and Navdeep Saini who will be international in the future can become stars. Malinga will work alongside the likes of Trent Boult, Nathan Coulter-Nile, Krishna and Saini at the royals.
On his move to the Royals, the 38-year-old said: “It’s certainly new for me to get into the coaching business and pass on my experience to the younger players. I am delighted to be working with Rajasthan Royals. It’s a new place for me but so far I’m enjoying my role of working with such a talented group of bowlers.”
When asked what he thought of his new franchise, Malinga said: “The first thing that always stuck in my mind was the color – pink. I’ve always seen that the team has good international and local players and whenever I faced them it was so tough. I think they’ve always been very competitive and could beat any team on their day.”
After being linked with Mumbai for 13 seasons, he also recalled how the move to the royals came about. “Actually, Kumar (Sangakkara) asked me last year if I was interested. But with COVID and all the bladder restrictions, I didn’t want to stay away from my family. But this year, having also worked with the Sri Lankan team, I felt I could use my experience and give back to the game I love by working with this group of players,” said the highest wicket -Take the IPL.
– Rajasthan Royals (@rajasthanroyals) March 21, 2022
The Sri Lankan legend also spoke about the Royals’ new pace attack. “I think we have a fantastic tempo attack. They have veteran overseas players like Boult and Coulter-Nile that I’ve worked with before. Then we have real Indian fast bowlers in Prasidh and Saini who have proven themselves at the highest level and some new faces in Anunay Singh, Kuldeep Sen and Kuldip Yadav. In T20 cricket, I think small margins are really important and I’m here to guide them to do their best in all situations,” said Malinga.
Malinga shared his thoughts on what’s most important for a fast bowler: “I think most teams focus on analyzing opponents and looking at their weaknesses. But in my experience, working on your strengths and bowling for them works best. In T20 you only have to bowl 24 balls, which is in our favour, but it’s also important to trust your instincts when it comes to which variations can work in which situations.”
“On the field you just have to prepare for a right-hander and a left-hander. So when a bowler trains, it’s important to only train after that – believing there are only two batsmen – it doesn’t matter what the batsman’s name is,” he added. The veteran who has played with Mumbai four times won the IPL also commented on what he thinks is the most important thing when aiming for a title: “I think every team is equally strong and everyone on the team is valued equally. But the most important thing is how we play the game and the Understand situations within a game, so what I want to get out of our bowlers is to improve their thinking patterns and help them understand the situations better,” he said.
Malinga bade farewell with a message for fans of his new franchise, saying: “What I want to say to the fans is that we have a fantastic group of players who I think could be future Indian stars. Every player always does their best – regardless of the results. So supporting them is important and I believe this year we will make them happy and proud.”