DUBAI: Rajasthan Royals Director of Cricket Kumar Sangakkara wants to see different players of his side becoming match-winners in different games as they look forward to the resumption of the IPL season in the UAE.
The Royals, who are placed fifth in the IPL points table, will begin the second leg of IPL by taking on Punjab Kings on September 21.
Commenting on what he expects from his players as they aim to make it to the playoffs, Sangakkara said, “What I want to see from them is their best efforts – competing as hard and for as long as possible to create opportunities to take games by the scruff of their neck and win them – that’s the real key.
“If one player can win us the odd game here and there, different players become those match-winners in different games, and that’s really what you’re looking for in terms of formulating a side winning,” he said in an RR release.
Having stayed in touch with the team during the off-season, Sangakkara said he got a lot of feedback from the players.
“I expect them to always challenge the plans we set for them and question as to why they’re doing something, or if they have a better alternative. I think that’s the real way we can challenge each other as coaches and players to get better,” said the 43-year-old Sri Lankan legend.
“And I’m genuinely very happy to note that our players are excelling at that. I really love the energy and the attitude of all the players at the Royals, especially the younger Indian guys, who are all very keen to learn and very confident in their abilities.”
The former captain is under quarantine in his hotel room here with his family.
“The first phase of the season had both positives and negatives for our team. It was a bit of a mixed bag with some injuries and pull-outs, but those are very understandable situations where you must support the players.”
Players like Jos Buttler, Ben Stokes and Jofra Archer have pulled out due to different reasons, including injury-related.
Sangakkara referred Jaydev Unadkat as a great example of hard work and determination.
“Earlier this year, I was particularly impressed with JD (Jaydev Unadkat), because we all know that he has gone through some difficult phases in his career but I think he really stepped up during the first phase of IPL 2021.
“His bowling was outstanding, and that just goes to show that you can come back from a setback and start doing well if you put in the work.”
On Sanju Samson’s captaincy, Sangakkara said, “I really think Sanju Samson does well when he’s Sanju Samson. He’s a bright young man. He’s got a balanced head on his shoulders, and I like the way he keeps everything very simple, clear and direct.
“His captaincy was very impressive given he had to take over at a tough time without a full-strength squad.”