Rajasthan Royals (RR) director of cricket, Kumar Sangakkara, has said that retaining their captain Sanju Samson was "a no-brainer" and that he would be a "long-term" leader for the franchise.
RR opted to retain Samson, Jos Buttler and Yashaswi Jaiswal ahead of the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2022 Mega Auction.
In a video shared by RR, Sangakkara spoke about their retention decisions:
"We worked really hard in terms of working with our newly-formed data analytics team, with the help of all our partners in India and in the US. We finally decided, of course Sanju Samson, it was a no-brainer in terms of being our captain, number one, he is going to be the long-term leader of this unit of Rajasthan Royals."
He went on to add about Samson:
"He is an exceptional player and he has shown time and time again what a wonderful asset he has been for RR."
Speaking about why they retained Jaiswal, Sangakkara said:
"We have retained Yashasvi Jaiswal, the young Indian opener, an absolute star in the making, he had a very very good season pre-retention, extremely talented. He is a very very quick learner, he is a hard worker and he will be our uncapped retention."
On Jos Buttler, the Sri Lanka legend elaborated:
"In terms of the sole international retention we have gone with Jos Buttler. Again, phenomenal player. Everyone in the world knows what he can do, whether at the top of the order or middle order or wherever he plays. He is an exceptional match winner."
"Quite a tough choice" - Kumar Sangakkara on not retaining Jofra Archer, Ben Stokes
RR let go of stars like Jofra Archer and Ben Stokes, opting not to name a fourth retention, which led to questions from fans and experts alike.
Kumar Sangakkara went on to say that it was extremely difficult having to leave some players out.
"It was quite a tough choice for all of us to sit down and run through the names, the options, the auction nitty gritty in terms of managing our retention and our purse, what the best options and permutations were," Sangakkara said.
Speaking about Stokes, Sangakkara said:
"Ben Stokes - the best all-rounder I have seen in a very very long time, an absolute match winner and he has shown that for Rajasthan Royals. Absolutely brilliant as a team man, brilliant in a leadership role. He just brings his amazing energy to the field but of course, we had to consider the number of retentions spots, player availability."
On Archer, the 44-year-old added:
"We did everything to ascertain the nature of the injury, the recovery period, his ability to come back. Once all of these dynamics come into play, it's very difficult to go into an auction with too many questions in our minds."
Archer missed IPL 2021, the 2021 T20 World Cup and won't be available for the Ashes either due to injury issues.