IPL's Royals appoint Sri Lankan Sangakkara as director

New Delhi (AFP) –


The Indian Premier League's Rajasthan Royals have appointed former Sri Lankan captain Kumar Sangakkara as director of cricket for the fourteenth season of the world's richest cricket league.

"Kumar brings a wealth of cricket knowledge both as a player and a leader," Mike Fordham, Group CEO of Rajasthan Royals, said in a statement.

"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," Kumar added.

Kumar is considered one of the legends of the modern game, having scored over 28,000 runs in his 16-year career.

The Sri Lankan said he was excited about the new challenge.

"To oversee the cricket strategy of a franchise in the leading cricket competition in the world... is an opportunity that really motivated me," Kumar said in a statement.

The appointment comes days after Royals released Australian star batsman Steve Smith and announced Sanju Samson as the new captain, days before next month's pre-tournament player auction.

Samson played 14 matches in the 2020 IPL -- which was played behind closed doors in the United Arab Emirates because of the coronavirus pandemic -- scoring 311 runs.

The Royals have kept England stars Ben Stokes, Jos Buttler and Jofra Archer in their team, which Smith captained this year and hauled them off the bottom of the eight-team league.

The IPL -- the world's wealthiest cricket tournament and which attracts top stars from around the globe -- is expected to start in April.

The venues, and whether the tournament will even be held in India, still hasn't been finalised because of the pandemic.