Rajasthan Royals have finished IPL 2022 as the runners up where the orange and purple caps have been won by their players as well. However, their director of cricket Kumar Sangakkara has shared their plans for the upcoming season as well. He also added that they want more from the specialist batters other than Jos Buttler and Sanju Samson, especially the talented youngster Riyan Parag and he will actively work on that as well.
“I think we have got a lot of improvement to do in all areas really,” 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.”
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.”
Notably, Riyan Parag faced only 132 balls in 14 innings this IPL season. His longest innings was 31-ball 56* against Royal Challengers Bangalore. During the season, although they tried to play with Daryl Mitchell and James Neesham, that didn’t help them much and eventually, they played with their five best bowlers as well.
“We were debating whether to put them in first as well,” Kumar Sangakkara again said. “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.”
“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 concluded.