By Chetan Sharma
New Delhi, Sep 15 (IANS) England cricketers Ben Stokes, Jofra Archer and Jos Buttler will be missing in action for the Rajasthan Royals in the second phase of IPL 2021. The franchise has already named replacements but how the new signings would turn out, in UAE conditions, will be interesting to see.
Rajasthan Royals’ director of cricket Kumar Sangakkara has also admitted that the team will miss the services of the trio. Speaking to IANS, Sangakkara said, “Well, the make-up of the squad has been different again because we’ve had a few pull outs from our players for various reasons – all understandable – you’re looking players for the long term, as individuals, their lives, not just for one season of IPL.”
Out of the three Englishmen, Archer is currently not a part of the national squad due to injury while Buttler, who is recently blessed with a child, and Stokes prioritised the upcoming T20 World Cup and the Ashes soon after.
“Jos Buttler has had a new addition to his family and we wish him the best. We really miss those guys because they’ve been brilliant because of what they bring to the franchise – not just on the field but also off it.
“Archer has had a huge miss in terms of cricket with his injury. We would really like him to get better. He’s brilliant to watch when he’s playing not just for RR, but generally in world cricket. I think world cricket needs Jofra Archer back in terms of him having been such a great performer and athlete,” the former Sri Lankan cricketer said.
He further expressed hope on the new signings – West Indian duo of Evin Lewis and Oshane Thomas, New Zealand cricketer Glenn Phillips and South Africa’s left-arm wrist spinner Tabraiz Shamsi.
“We’ve also had new signings in Shamsi, Evin Lewis, Glenn Phillips, Oshane Thomas and then Liam Livingstone is back which is a great thing. I think we have a really good squad which gives us the option of going with various combinations. I am happy to see that players are really looking forward to it,” the Rajasthan Royals official said.
Sangakkara further added that he is eager to see how the Indian players in the team performed especially when some of the key names have struggled in the first phase of the tournament.
“I am really excited to see what players like (Anuj) Rawat, Mahipal (Lomror) can bring to the table – have to mention JD (Jaydev Unadkat) – he went through some difficult phases in his career – but the first half (of IPL 2021) he really stepped up with some performances. He also contributed once with the bat – his bowling was outstanding – goes to show he’s got so much to offer – and very impressed with his kind of character and it’s for everyone else to see that you can come back from a setback and keep doing well. I am also really excited to see the likes of KC Cariappa, Mayank Markande, Shreyas Gopal – who have all been great performers for their domestic teams. So all in all, we’ve got a great squad, I can’t complain, and I’m excited to work with them,” he added.
Asked about the chances Royals have in the second phase of the IPL, scheduled to being in Dubai from September 19, Sangakkara said, “What I want to see from the players is their best efforts – competing as hard and for as long as possible to create opportunities to take games and win games – that’s the real key.”
“I think the more we play our best cricket, the more we stick to our strategies and our plans as we’ve done our analysis – and are able to execute what the side needs, that’s what I’m really looking at. If we can do that, the rest will take care of itself in terms of results and tables,” he concluded.