Rajasthan Royals (RR) Director of Cricket Kumar Sangakkara on Sunday (May 29) suggested veteran campaigner R Ashwin to bowl off-spinners more frequently rather than trying out different variations.
Known to experiment a lot with his bowling, Ashwin often bowls the conventional off-breaks lesser compared to the carrom balls.
Sangakkara’s comments came after RR suffered a seven-wicket defeat at the hands of Gujarat Titans (GT) in the IPL 2022 final at Ahmedabad.
“Ash (Ashwin) has done a great job for us," Sangakkara said at the post-match press conference.
"Even for Ash, being a legend in terms of what he has achieved on the cricketing pitch, there will be a lot of improvements and thinking to do, especially with his off-spinners and bowl more of it," he added.
In the IPL 2022 season, Ashwin could manage only 12 wickets in 17 games. The off-spinner returned with the figures of 0/32 in his three overs in the final against GT.
Coming to the final, RR posted a below-par 130/9 on the board after opting to bat first. The batting line-up crumbled in the big match as no one managed to hit a half-century. Jos Buttler was the top scorer with 35-ball 39.
In reply, GT got over the line in 18.1 overs. Opener Shubman Gill top scored with 45* while Hardik and David Miller contributed 34 and 32* respectively.
“It was a tough one. 130 was never enough. We were debating whether to put them in (to bat) first as well. By the time we arrived at the ground, we looked at the pitch, it was pretty dry and we thought it will get slower and maybe offer a little bit of turn for our spinners. So, we were expecting to get about 160-165," Sangakkara said.
“We were really well-set in our batting innings at 70/1 at the half-way mark until Sanju (Samson) got out. And then they came and bowled some beautiful overs and we let Gujarat back into the game. (With) 130, we need a bit of luck and some quick wickets in the powerplay. We did get two but unfortunately we didn't get (Shubman) Gill in that first over and the run-rate never went above seven.
"It was always going to be tough. It was hardly about calculations and maths and just about trying and getting a couple of wickets and break through that (David) Miller and Hardik (Pandya) and Gill partnerships, but we were unable to do it,” he further remarked.
Despite ending the season as runners-up, Kumar Sangakkara felt the team needs to improve in a lot of areas.
“Well we have got a lot of improving to do in all areas. If you take our batting, we had huge contributions from Jos (Buttler), Sanju, and Shimron Hetymer at the early stages.
“Riyan (Parag) and Devdutt (Padikkal) really played well in patches, but I think in terms of overall performance, we need a little bit more from the support role players as well,” he said.
Sangakkara concluded by saying that this was the best and strongest eleven, which RR played with.
“…but when you take the quality of players that we had, this was the best side and the strongest side (that) we put out on the park,” he said.
(With PTI inputs)