'Keep scoring runs and knocking on the door' - Kumar Sangakkara backs this young IPL star's Indian team prospects
As Director of Cricket with inaugural champions Rajasthan Royals (RR), Sri Lankan legend Kumar Sangakkara has had the opportunity to put multiple young Indian players through his eye test in the Indian Premier League (IPL). The former Sri Lanka captain has had the chance to see many aspiring talents from close quarters and gauge their overall abilities and promise.
The latest player to pass the great man's judgement happens to be his own team's longstanding young Indian opener Yashasvi Jaiswal, who is in the limelight for producing an excellent century in the IPL 2023 league stage encounter on Sunday (April 30).
Sangakkara is certain in the aftermath of Jaiswal's blistering hundred versus five-time champions Mumbai Indians (MI) that the elegant left-hander is destined for the India cap and conjure up the goods at the international stage.
Jaiswal struck the code with utmost precision at the Wankhede Stadium, his home ground with Mumbai domestically, as he relished coming back to his roots and the traditional true pace and bounce at its den to hit an eye-catching 124 off 62 deliveries, including 16 fours and 8 sixes.
Sangakkara lauds Jaiswal, backs his India prospects
The 21-year-old almost single-handedly took the Royals to a gigantic 212/7 in their allotted 20 overs in an innings where the next highest individual score was just 18 from fellow opener Jos Buttler.
Even though Royals' poor outing with the ball rained on Jaiswal's parade and the hundred came in a loss, the end outcome took no real sheen away from what was a spectacular innings, one that got one of the greatest ever players raving about the young gun and back his India dreams.
"He is not just extremely talented but also really hard-working. He has spent a lot of time in preparations, a lot of time in the nets working on his preparations," Sangakkara told the press after Royals' final-over defeat, which would've been a cause of great pain for Yashasvi Jaiswal, whose knock deserved better.
"He has worked on his game for three to four years with us and it shows he is very focussed, driven and the results are showing," he added.
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Always rated highly within the Indian cricket set-up, Jaiswal has only improved his reputation and bolstered his claims for an international call-up through this edition of the IPL.
After showcasing encouraging signs with his powerhitting skills but at the cost of consistency last summer, the Royals opener seems to have bridged the gap in the ongoing season as he retains an average of 47.55 with a strike-rate of 159.70 after nine innings and 428 runs, reigning at the top of the batting charts for his team.
"He played beautifully. He batted almost entirely through the innings and it was exceptional. He has a long way to go, not just with us, but internationally. He just has to keep scoring runs and keep knocking on the door," Sangakkara said.
"It is about playing good cricket shot, trusting his ability, reading the game situation really well and when he does get a start to maximise it and get the intent going throughout the innings."
"Before this IPL, he hasn't batted a huge amount outside the powerplay, averaged a little low against pace but today and in the previous game as well, he has showed when he keeps his intent going, he has the ability to play big innings for us," he added.
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