IPL 2022: 'I think we have got a lot of improvement to do in all areas really' - Kumar Sangakkara

Rajasthan Royals ended their IPL 2022 campaign as the runners up and Kumar Sangakkara has shared their plans for the next season.

Sanju Samson and Kumar Sangakkara file photo, Image credit: Facebok/ Rajasthan Royals
By Shurti Banerjee | May 31, 2022 | 4 Min Read follow icon Follow Us

The 15th edition of the Indian Premier League has just finished and Rajasthan Royals ended their campaign as the runners up. Moreover, the orange and purple caps have been won by their players only – Jos Butler and Yuzvendra Chahal respectively. While they have managed to use their players well, their director of cricket Kumar Sangakkara has shared their plans for the next season as well. He also added that they want more contribution apart from the specialist batters – Jos Buttler and Sanju Samson and especially Riyan Parag. The veteran also stated that he will actively work on that as well.

“I think we have got a lot of improvement to do in all areas really,” Kumar Sangakkara said at the post-match press conference. “If you really take our batting, we had huge contributions from Jos, contributions from Sanju, and Shimron Hetmyer in the early stages. Riyan and Devdutt [Padikkal] played well in patches, but in terms of overall performance, we need a little bit from the support-role players.”

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“I think Riyan Parag has got a huge amount of potential” – Kumar Sangakkara

He continued: “I think Riyan Parag has got a huge amount of potential, and I think we have got to work him into a higher batting number by the time we come in next season. I look forward to grooming him to become more of a kind of an early-middle-order player rather than just a death hitter because I think he is so accomplished against spin as well as pace. I think overall we have the purple cap, the orange cap, and as a team, we played extremely well. And I thought from the time we started the tournament to now, the guys have put in an amazing effort, so I am very, very proud.”

It is also noteworthy that, Riyan Parag has faced only 132 balls in 14 innings this Indian Premier League season. His longest innings was an unbeaten 56 which came from 31 balls against Royal Challengers Bangalore in Pune. However, they also tried a few players in their playing XI, namely Daryl Mitchell and James Neesham, that didn’t help their bowling attack though and eventually, they had to stick with their five best bowlers only which left the batters to adjust in the playing XI as well in most of the games.

However, that certainly put extra pressure on Jos Buttler alongside Sanju Samson and Yashasvi Jaiswal too to bat quickly as well so that Buttler’s slow start could be adjusted in between during their allotted 20 overs. Notably, in the final, the Royals put up 59 runs for 1 in eight overs as well, which Kumar Sangakkara believed was a good score once they had decided to bat after winning only their fourth toss of the season as well. Moreover, it was an unusual move as teams preferred to chase after winning the toss as well.

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“With 130, you need a bit of luck and some quick wickets in the powerplay” – Sangakkara on their struggle in the powerplay

“We were debating whether to put them in first as well,” Kumar Sangakkara again shared. “By the time we arrived at the ground, we looked at the pitch, it was pretty dry. And we thought it will get slower and maybe offer a little bit of turn for our spinners. So we expected to get about 160-165. We were really well-set in our batting innings: 70 for 1 at halfway mark. Then Sanju got out and then Hardik [Pandya] came on and bowled some beautiful overs and we let Gujarat back into the game.”

However, Kumar Sangakkara has also praised his bowlers but expected the veteran spinner R Ashwin to push himself more in the next edition of the league as well. Notably, Ashwin did well with the bat while batting up in the order. It will be interesting to see how the veteran will perform next season as well.

“With 130, you need a bit of luck and some quick wickets in the powerplay. Yes, we did get two; unfortunately, we didn’t get [Shubman] Gill in that first over and the [asking] run rate never went over seven. So it was always going to be tough. Ash has done a great job for us. Even for Ash, being a legend in terms of what he has achieved on the cricketing pitch, there will be a lot of improvements and thinking to do, especially with his offspinner and bowl more of it,” Kumar Sangakkara signed off.