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Dubai [UAE], September 9 (ANI): Sri Lankan legend and Rajasthan Royals' Director of Cricket Kumar Sangakkara arrived in the UAE earlier this week and is looking forward to the resumption of the 2021 season of the IPL.
Speaking from his hotel room, where he's under quarantine with his family, Sangakkara said, "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. After that, we were left in a different place to where we had envisioned ourselves after a great auction earlier this year. But I was glad to see other players stepping up and filling in the roles that were required of them and playing to their own strengths to help the team."
Summing up the first phase of the season, Sangakkara said he was happy to see the character shown by his side to deal with hindrances. "We started off with a great game against Kings, then we beat Delhi and finished the phase with probably our best all-round performance which came against SRH. It was a good way to finish the phase but was tough on the players because they had worked so hard to be in that position.
"However, the guys showed a lot of character, patience, and understanding in that environment where it was quite a tough period with what was happening in India and around the world due to COVID. I think it was a great test for everyone involved with the franchise, and I was very impressed with all the players and the management because they all had tough jobs, but their focus was immense," said the 43-year-old.
Commenting on what he expects from his team 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."
Sending messages of support and best wishes to players who have had to pull out, he added, "Jos Buttler has of course had a new addition to his family and we congratulate him and the family. We really miss those guys because they've been brilliant due to what they bring to the franchise, not just on the field but also off it. With Ben (Stokes), we understand the situation and realise the importance of this period in his life and continue to provide all the support and love he needs."
"Jofra Archer has had a huge miss in terms of cricket with his injury, and 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 because he's been such a great performer and athlete," added the Lankan great. (ANI)