RR’s director of cricket says the team will miss Stokes, Buttler and Archer
Kumar Sangakkara is looking forward to match-winning efforts from more Rajasthan Royals players in the second phase of the IPL. The Jaipur-based side was in the fifth spot when the league was suspended in May; it will resume its campaign with a match against Punjab Kings at Dubai on September 21.
“If one player can win us the odd game here and there, different players become match-winners in different games, and that’s really what you’re looking for in terms of formulating a winning side,” Royals’ director of cricket said on Thursday in Dubai, where he is quarantining after his arrival earlier in the week. “What I want to see from them is their best efforts, competing as hard and for as long as possible to create opportunities and taking games by the scruff of the neck and winning them… that’s the key.”
The team will have to play the remainder of the tournament without its England trio of Ben Stokes, Jos Buttler and Jofra Archer, who have had to pull out due to different reasons.
“We really miss those guys because they’ve been brilliant due to what they bring to the franchise, not just on the field but also off it,” said the Sri Lankan legend. “With Ben, we understand the situation and realise the importance of this period in his life. We will continue to provide all the support and love he needs.
“Archer is brilliant to watch when he’s playing not just for RR. I think world cricket needs him back because he’s been such a great performer and athlete.”
Sangakkara was impressed with Royals’ new captain Sanju Samson.
“He’s a very bright young man. He’s got a balanced head on his shoulders and I like the way he keeps everything simple, clear and direct. His captaincy was very impressive given that he had to take over at a tough time without a full-strength squad,” said Sangakkara.
Looking back at the first phase of the league, he said there were positives and negatives.
“The guys showed a lot of character, patience, and understanding in a tough period with what was happening in India and around the world due to COVID,” he said. “I was very impressed with all the players and the management because they all had tough jobs, but their focus was immense.”
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