Rajasthan Royals director of cricket and head coach Kumar Sangakkara is confident the Royals Group-led team had a brilliant auction and can turn around after three dismal IPL seasons.
Sangakkara said the presence of two amazing weirdos in Yuzvendra Chahal and R Ashwin would make a huge difference. Remarkably, Rajasthan have finished 7th, 8th and 7th in the last three seasons. The next edition of the IPL starts on March 26th.
“We know we still had work to do in the off-season in terms of our team. I think we managed to identify the key areas that needed our attention and we had a proper process in selecting the players at auction, we managed to hit the marks we set ourselves,” said the Sri Lankan legend in a team statement.
“I think the franchise did a great job of putting together this exciting and strong roster,” added Sangakkara.
“We have the top two spinners in the IPL in terms of off-spin and leg-spin in Chahal and Ashwin. We’ve got Boult, Prasidh, Saini, Coulter-Nile, McCoy making a very exciting pace unit supported of course by keeping Yashasvi, Samson and Buttler.
“We provided depth in every division with Neesham, Mitchell and van der Dussen being exciting cricketers. We also have some exciting young cricketers from India. The main thing is that we have a very competent team. We tried to get the core right and get the right players for the roles.
“But now, regardless of the composition of the squad, the main thing is the actual playing performance on the field and how we can give everyone the freedom to go out and perform,” said Sangakkara.
When asked what the team learned from last season’s disappointing second part of the season, Kumar said: “I think there were a lot of different reasons for that, not just one or two.
“Whether it was player availability, a split tournament, a longer break and not having the best match performances in terms of batting or bowling. But that’s all in the past now and that’s why the squad has changed.” Explaining the additions of his compatriot Lasith Malinga and Paddy Upton to the Royals’ coaching staff, the former Sri Lanka captain added: “My job is through myself or through people, that I would recommend add value to the franchise.
“First, it’s about what value that person brings and how they can constantly help us to improve. It’s pretty obvious for anyone to see the standards set by Lasith and Paddy. They have had outstanding careers with their respective teams in their jobs and can prove to be important elements in our pursuit of the title.” He also paid tribute to former Royals captain Shane Warne, who passed away earlier this month.
“He’s a huge loss to the cricket world, a huge loss to cricketers around the world because he was such an approachable guy who had great knowledge. He was a very good friend and I enjoyed the time with him, the conversations we used to have. I think everyone will miss him.”