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‘He’s only captain when he’s on the pitch’: Kumar Sangakkara on Sanju Samson’s rise as RR leader in IPL 2022


Rajasthan Royals (RR) Head Coach and Director of Cricket Kumar Sangakkara has praised skipper Sanju Samson after his side beat Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) by seven wickets in 2nd Qualifying at Narendra Stadium Modi in Ahmedabad to rush into IPL 2022 Finals. Rajasthan Royals chased the target of 158 runs without breaking a sweat to book a place against Gujarat Titans (GT) in the summit clash.

Samson became only the second captain after the legendary Shane Warne to take RR to an IPL final. Warne had inspired the franchise to their first IPL triumph in the tournament’s inaugural edition in 2008. After enduring a disappointing campaign last year where they failed to make the playoffs, RR did well to avoid their criticism in IPL 2022.

Sangakkara recently opened up on Samson’s rise as leader of the Rajasthan Royals this season and revealed how the wicketkeeper hitter never let the captain affect his stick. Sangakkara said Samson has been exceptional as a captain and his tactical awareness has also improved over time.

“Sanju was outstanding. He started with a pretty tough test last season with a young team and a lot of upheaval because of the COVID-19 bubbles in terms of players coming in and out, two halves tournament but he’s really became his role.

“He’s a very gentle and very reserved individual. He’s exceptionally gifted with the bat. He’s shown a lot of passion and a hunger to play for this franchise and to take on this test role of captain. Wicketkeeper, captain and be being the best hitter on your side with Jos Buttler is not an easy role to fill but he’s done it very well this season,” Sangakarra said after RR’s win over RCB on Friday.

Read also : ‘Maxwell scores big after 5 seasons’: Ex-RCB star questions team’s decision to keep versatile Aussie

Often the IPL has seen star hitters lose their shine with the bat once given the added responsibility of leading their team. The likes of Virat Kohli, KL Rahul and Rishabh Pant, among others, have all seen the captaincy affect their individual game. However, Samson has led from the front with the bat and his strike rate hasn’t gone down this season either.

“He’s become more and more aware of his role – that he’s only captain when he’s in the field and when he’s batting he’s Sanju Samson the batter, batting with freedom and pleasure. “His tactical awareness has improved throughout and will continue to improve. He really trusted his team. The team really admire him as a leader, how he led them on and off the pitch. I can’t be more proud of how Sanju has grown up,” Sangakkara says Samson praisingly.

Read also : He watches with great pride: Jos Buttler pays tribute to Shane Warne as RR reaches IPL 2022 final

The Rajasthan Royals have been one of the most consistent sides so far this season and will be looking to go all the way and lift the trophy when they take on debutants Gujarat Titans in the final on Sunday May 28. The Rajasthan Royals won their first IPL title in 2008 and have been chasing their second trophy ever since.

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