Sri Lanka legend Lasith Malinga is delighted to join Rajasthan Royals as their new bowling coach for the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2022 and said the squad has a fantastic bunch of young Indian players such as Praisdh Krishna and Navdeep Saini who are future international can become stars. Malinga will work with the likes of Trent Boult, Nathan Coulter-Nile, Krishna and Saini at the Royals.
Commenting on joining the Royals, the 38-year-old said: “It’s definitely new for me to start coaching and pass on my experience to the younger players. I’ve played this role before at Mumbai, and now I am. ” I am delighted to be working with Rajasthan Royals. It’s a new place for me, but so far I enjoy my role working with such a talented group of bowlers.”
Asked about his thoughts on his new franchise, Malinga said: “The first thing that has always stuck with me was the color – pink. I always saw that the team had good international and local players, and when I met them, it was strong. I think they were always very competitive and could beat any team on their day.”
After being associated with Mumbai for 13 seasons, he also remembered how the move to the Royals came about. “It was actually last year that Kumar (Sangakkara) asked me if I was interested. But with COVID and all the bubble restrictions, I didn’t want to stay away from my family. But this year I also with the Sri Lankan team, I felt that I could share my experience could use and give back to the game I love by working with this group of players,” said IPL’s top wicket taker.
— Rajasthan Royals (@rajasthanroyals) March 21, 2022
The Sri Lankan legend also spoke of the Royals’ new pace attack. “I think we have a fantastic speed attack. You have experienced foreign players like Boult and Coulter-Nile, who I have worked with before. Then we have real Indian fast bowlers in Prasidh and Saini, who have proven themselves at the highest level, and some new faces in Anunay Singh, Kuldeep Sen and Kuldip Yadav. In T20 cricket, I think small margins really matter, and I’m here to guide them to give their best in all situations,” said Malinga.
Malinga shared his thoughts on what matters most to a fast bowler, saying: “I think teams usually focus on analyzing the opponents and looking at their weaknesses. But in my experience I think what works best, is when you work to your strengths and bowl accordingly. In T20 you only have to bowl 24 balls, which works in our favor, but it’s also important to trust your instincts about which variations can work in which situations.”
“On the field, you only have a right-hander and a left-hander to prepare against, so when a bowler trains it’s important to train just by that – to think there are only two batters – it doesn’t matter what the batsman’s name,” he added. Having won the IPL four times with Mumbai, the veteran also commented on what he believes is the most important thing to do when pursuing a title. “I think every team is equally strong and everyone on the team is valued equally. But the most crucial thing is how we understand the game and the situations within a game. So what I want to get out of our bowlers is to improve their thinking pattern, and help them understand the situations better,” he said.
Malinga closed with a message to fans of his new franchise, saying: “What I want to say to the fans is that we have a fantastic bunch of players, who I believe could be future Indian stars. best – regardless of the results. That’s why it’s important to support them, and I have a feeling we’re going to make you happy and proud this year.”