Mumbai (Maharashtra) [India], March 22 (ANI): Sri Lanka's T20 World Cup-winning captain Lasith Malinga, who led his country to the 2014 ICC T20 World Cup trophy, will be working during the upcoming season with the talented group of pacers present within the Rajasthan Royals' set-up.
Reacting to joining the Royals, the 38-year-old said, "It is certainly a new thing for me to get into coaching and pass on my experience to the younger players. I have played this role before with Mumbai, and now I'm delighted to be working with Rajasthan Royals. It is a new place for me, but I'm enjoying my role so far working with such a talented group of bowlers."
Asked what his thoughts were about his new franchise, Malinga said, "The first thing that always stayed with me was the colour - pink. I always saw the team have good international and local players, and whenever I used to face them, it was tough. I think they were always very competitive, and could beat any team on their day."
Having been associated with Mumbai for 13 seasons, he also recalled how the move to Royals came about. "It was actually last year that Kumar (Sangakkara) asked me if I was interested. But with COVID and all the bubble restrictions, I didn't want to stay away from my family. But this year, having also worked with the Sri Lankan team, I felt I could use my experience and give back to the game that I love, by working with this group of players," expressed IPL's highest wicket-taker.
The Sri Lankan legend also spoke about the Royals' new pace attack. "I think we have a fantastic pace attack. You've got experienced overseas players like Boult and Coulter-Nile, with whom I've worked before. Then we've got genuine Indian fast bowlers in Prasidh and Saini, who have proven themselves at the highest level, and some new faces in Anunay Singh, Kuldeep Sen and Kuldip Yadav. In T20 cricket, I think little margins really matter, and I'm here to guide them to deliver their best in all situations," stated Malinga.
Sharing his thoughts on what's the most important thing for a fast bowler, Malinga said, "I think most of the times teams focus on analyzing the opposition and looking at their weaknesses. But in my experience, I think what works best is when you work on your strengths and bowl according to them. In T20, you only have to bowl 24 balls, which works in our favour but it's also important to trust your instincts as to which variations can work in which situations."
"On the field, you only have a right-hander and a left-hander to prepare against, so when a bowler trains, it's important to just train according to that - to think there are just two batters - it doesn't matter what the name of the batsman is," he added.
Having won the IPL four times with Mumbai, the veteran also commented on what he thinks is the most important thing to do when going after a title. "I think every team is equally strong and everyone in the team is equally valued. But the most crucial thing is how we understand the game and the situations within a game. So, what I want to get out of our bowlers is to improve their thinking pattern, and help them understand the situations better," he expressed.
Signing off with a message for fans of his new franchise, Malinga said, "What I want to say to the fans is that we've got a fantastic bunch of players, who, in my opinion, can be future Indian stars. Each and every player is always trying their best - regardless of the results. Therefore, it's important to back them, and I feel this year we are going to make you happy and proud." (ANI)