Kumar Sangakkara's widespread experience in franchise cricket is expected to help the Royals in shaping their strategy for the 2021 season. Image Credit: Supplied photo

Kolkata: Kumar Sangakkara, former Sri Lankan captain and one of the modern greats of the game, was unveiled as the Director of Cricket of Rajasthan Royals, the Indian Premier League franchise, for the upcoming 2021 season.

Currently serving as the President of the Marylebone Cricket Club, Sangakkara will be responsible for overseeing the entire cricketing eco system of the Royals franchise including coaching structure, auction plan and team strategy, talent discovery and development, as well as the development of the Royals Academy in Nagpur.

Commenting on his appointment, Kumar Sangakkara said: “It’s a privilege to be joining the Rajasthan Royals and I am excited about the new challenge. To oversee the cricket strategy of a franchise in the leading cricket competition in the world, as well as building the development programmes and cricketing infrastructure that will provide the future foundation of the IPL team’s on-field success, is an opportunity that really motivated me. I have really enjoyed speaking to the leadership group over the recent weeks and can’t wait to get going. The team includes some of the world’s best players and great personalities so it’s going to be fun and very exciting to work with this group.”

Sanju Samson, already appointed as the captain for the season, said: “I’m delighted that Kumar has come on board and we have already had some great conversations together. He is someone who has had an exceptional cricket career himself and obviously understands the modern game. It’s great to have an all-time wicketkeeping great with us, he is someone who’s donned many hats, he was a fantastic keeper-batsman, he’s led Sri Lanka with grace and class throughout and has done it for years with the Sri Lankan national team across formats.

‘‘He’s someone who’s shown great character both on and off the field and the values that one associates with him are the same which we embody here at Rajasthan Royals. It is wonderful to have someone like him at the helm and is going to be fantastic to learn from him. I can’t wait to get started and work with him in the coming seasons”, Samson added.

Mike Fordham, the Group CEO Rajasthan Royals, said: “Kumar brings a wealth of cricket knowledge both as a player and a leader. We are thrilled to have him join the team and we are confident that Kumar will motivate, challenge and inspire our players and coaches that will translate to success on the field.”

The southpaw first graced the IPL in its inaugural season back in 2008, starting with a stylish half-century on debut against M.S. Dhoni’s Chennai Super Kings. That first season saw him amass 320 runs in 10 games, guiding Kings XI to a top-four finish. The following seasons saw him scoring consistently over 300 runs in his first four seasons. In his final IPL season, back in 2013, Sangakkara turned up as a leader for the Sunrisers Hyderabad, leading the team both on and off the pitch, helping them secure a play-off spot in an extraordinary manner.