As Rajasthan Royals beat Royal Challengers Bangalore by seven wickets on Friday to reach their first Indian Premier League final since 2008 and earn a shot at a second title, the team’s director of cricket Kumar Sangakkara heaped praise on Jos Buttler who brought up his fourth century of the season.
Sangakkara stated he had never seen anyone bat with such authority in the history of the IPL as Buttler, who is the tournament’s highest run-scorer with 824 runs from 16 games, including four centuries and as many fifties.
“It’s hard to describe what he (Buttler) has done for us this season in terms of T20 batting. He started off well, he had a little bit of a flutter at one point in the tournament but then he just calmed himself down, had a lot of good conversations rather than just training,” he said at the post-match press conference.
“He accepted that he is mortal, he is a human and can’t be at that high level of excellence every single day. He can accelerate at any point, he has got all the strokes. He understands the game really well. I can’t remember anyone batting this well in the history of the IPL.”
According to Sangakkara, Sanju Samson also excelled in the triple tasks of wicket-keeping, leadership, and batting. With 444 runs including two half centuries this season, Samson has batted well for his side that demanded him to perform as a multi-utility player.
“Sanju has been exceptional. He started off with quite a tough test last season with a young side and lot of upheaval because of COVID bubbles, tournament of two halves but he has really grown into his role,” Sangakkara said.
“He is very soft-spoken, very reserved individual. He is exceptionally skilled with the bat. He has shown a lot of passion and hunger to taking on this testing role of captaincy. Wicket-keeping, captaining and being the best batter in your side along with Jos Buttler is not an easy kind of role to fill but he has done it really well this season,” he added.
However, it is the increased awareness as a leader that has impressed the Sri Lankan legend the most.
“He has become more and more aware of what his role is. His tactical awareness has improved right throughout. He has really trusted his team. The team really looks up to him as a leader,” the former Lankan skipper added.
With a well-rounded squad that boasts exceptional depth in both batting bowling, RR was one of the strongest sides on paper since the start of the tournament. However, Sangakkara reckoned that it was having a fixed core group of nine players that made the execution of his plans easier.
He said: “That’s an advantage of having an experienced side. We have a core group of nine players with exceptional experience and skill and around them, we have young guys and some very senior players in the bench. What I have to do as a coach is very little. It is just about being responsible of what has happened, owning it as a unit.”