Boasting one of the best attacks of IPL-15 in Trent Boult, Prasidh Krishna, Ravichandran Ashwin, and Yuzvendra Chahal, Rajasthan Royals began their campaign in style, crushing Sunrisers Hyderabad by 61 runs. Everyone performed to their potential and that has excited their director of cricket and head coach Kumar Sangakkara, who said that the availability of a full-strength bowling lineup is a real confidence booster for the team at a time when many sides are struggling with their overseas recruits.
"It's always nice to have such high quality in your attack. To have them available throughout is another great plus," the Sri Lankan great said in a virtual media interaction on the eve of their match against Mumbai Indians.
While many teams are struggling with the unavailability of overseas players, the Royals have scored full marks in ensuring that bowlers such as Jimmy Neesham, Obed McCoy, and Navdeep Saini are available for the full season. "The bowling and batting equally make a huge impact in T20 cricket, especially on flat wickets. So, it's really a confidence booster to have that bowling strength always present."
One of IPL's leading wicket-takers (170 scalps from 122 matches), Lasith Malinga has also joined the Royals as the fast bowling coach after his retirement last year. The prospect of Malinga working alongside the likes of upcoming Indian pacers Krishna and Saini excites Sangakkara.
"It's really exciting to have him. It's really huge. The bowlers really enjoy talking to him, while he's there at the top of their marks. Discussing and debating fields and deliveries. He's been exceptional," Sangakkara said.
On Malinga's role, he said: "He's just directing the players to keep things simple, what the strengths are and how they are going to approach the situations and the batters."
They also have another former Mumbai player in Nathan Coulter-Nile. "Everyone brings knowledge and experience into the mix. Players change around in terms of auctions at various times. It's good to have their experience in the side," Sangakkara said.
The middle-order batting has always been a concern for the Jaipur franchise, but Sangakkara said the players' are aware of their roles so that they can support each other well. "There are always times when anyone can struggle in a long season. At various times, the key is to have the ability around to support that and to have players understand that. It's the natural way of cricket. Unfortunately, we can't have a good day every day... we try very hard. Good days and bad days are part and parcel of the game," he concluded.