Ahead of the highly anticipated IPL 2022 season, the Rajasthan Royals have announced two new appointments to their coaching team. The club has hired Sri Lankan great Lasith Malinga as their new fast bowling coach, as well as Paddy Upton, who has been promoted to Team Catalyst.
Malinga, a 38-year-old T20 World Cup-winning skipper who led his country to the 2014 ICC T20 World Cup title, will work with the Royals’ outstanding crop of pacers during the forthcoming season. Malinga, regarded as one of the finest limited-overs bowlers of all time, will oversee the creation of bowling strategy in the lead-up to and during the season, as well as imparting his experience and skills to new bowlers.
Over the course of his 17-year career, the right-arm fast bowler represented Sri Lanka in 340 matches across three formats, taking 546 wickets. He only ever played for one side in the Indian Premier League, the Mumbai Indians, for whom he took 170 wickets in 122 matches. He most recently worked as Sri Lanka’s Bowling Strategy Coach for their T20I series against Australia in February 2022.
Speaking on his appointment, Malinga said, “It’s a wonderful feeling for me to return to the IPL and an absolute honour to join Rajasthan Royals, a franchise that has always promoted and developed young talent. I am excited by the pace bowling unit we have going into the tournament and looking forward to supporting all the fast bowlers with the execution of their game plans and their overall development.
“I’ve made some very special memories in the IPL with Mumbai Indians and now with Royals, looking forward to new experiences and creating great memories in this journey.”
Paddy Upton’s hiring, on the other hand, represents a return to the Royals for the South African, who previously served as the franchise’s Head Coach from 2013 to 2015 and then again in 2019, leading the side to top-four finishes in 2013 and 2015, as well as a Champions League appearance in 2013.
As the Team Catalyst, Upton will be responsible for establishing team integration by bringing them together as a cohesive and mutually supportive unit, as well as looking after their mental well-being through the use of various mental conditioning processes and activities that aid in maintaining a healthy culture and environment, particularly within the confines of being in a bio-bubble.
Upton will be on the bubble for the first four weeks of the tournament but will be a virtual supporter once that period is through.
Previously, the South African served as the Mental Conditioning Coach for India’s Men’s Team during the successful 2011 ICC World Cup, and as the Performance Director of South Africa Cricket from 2011 to 2014, guiding the team to become the first to hold the World No. 1 ranking in all three formats of the game in 2012.
Meanwhile, Kumar Sangakkara will take over as Head Coach for the 2018 season, while also serving as Director of Cricket for the Royals outside of the season, as he did last year.
Speaking on the two new additions, Sangakkara said, “Lasith is arguably one of the greatest T20 fast bowlers of all time, and to have a personality like his around the training ground, and the expertise he brings to the table is certainly something we feel the team can benefit from. We have some of the best fast bowlers in our squad and we are delighted that they will have the chance to work with Lasith and get to learn and develop further.”
“It’s the same with Paddy, who has been a great servant for the Royals and has done an exceptional job in building that cohesion between players and also conditioning them mentally. We believe he will act as a great addition to our coaching staff. I am also excited to keep working with this new team in my dual role as Head Coach during the season and Director of Cricket round the year, and hope that all our efforts can contribute towards achieving our objective of winning the IPL,” Kumar added.