Rajasthan Royals’ (RR) director of cricket Kumar Sangakkara has admitted that releasing the England duo of Ben Stokes and Jofra Archer was extremely difficult for them. However, he pointed out that the franchise needed to take injury and availability issues into consideration.
RR retained captain Sanju Samson, keeper-opener Jos Buttler and young batter Yashasvi Jaiswal ahead of the IPL 2022 auction. While Samson was retained for INR 14 crore, Buttler’s retention cost the franchise INR 10 crore and Jaiswal’s INR 4 crore.
Speaking specifically on the decision to release Stokes and Archer, Sangakkara admitted:
“It’s extremely difficult. They are two of the best players in the world at the moment. Ben Stokes is the best all-rounder I have seen in a very long time. We had to consider the number of retentions possible, player availability. Same with Jofra. We did everything to ascertain the nature of the injury, the recovery period. All these dynamics come into play.”
While Archer was ruled out of IPL 2021 due to his recurring injury woes, Stokes played only one game for the franchise in the first half before getting injured. He skipped the UAE leg due to mental health issues.
On the retained players, Sangakkara said that Samson has shown a huge amount of improvement as leader. He stated:
“It is a job that he is new to in terms of the IPL and it is never easy. A lot of dynamics to manage in terms of the players, in terms of on-field work, his wicket-keeping. He’s our captain and premier batter.”
Speaking about Buttler and Jaiswal, the RR director of cricket added:
“Jos, in terms of a player, he is the best opener in world cricket. He’s an absolute match-winner and he is great in the team environment. A top notch individual. Yashashvi is an uncapped player with so much ability. He has got great power, good touch, good temperament, all the shots in the book, a hunger to score runs and be a player who wins matches for his side.”
RR finished in seventh position in the IPL 2021 points table, winning five and losing nine matches.
What RR’s retained players had to say
RR skipper Sanju Samson said:
“We will definitely try to put the smiles back on your faces and play some interesting cricket.”
Young opener Yashasvi Jaiswal asserted:
“I am really excited to go back again and win matches for my family and my team. I am just waiting for the next game.”
Explosive wicketkeeper-batter Jos Buttler commented:
“A massive thank you to all the Royal supporters all across the globe. Really hope you are excited about the retention and mega auctions. So keep supporting us.”
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RR won the inaugural edition of the IPL back in 2008 but have failed to recreate that magic since.