Kumar Sangakkara believes franchise academies can pave way for future IPL stars

New Rajasthan Royals director of cricket says Dubai facility ideal place for youngsters to learn specialised skills

Rajasthan Royals Academy UAE director Graeme Cremer with players at their facility in Dubai. Courtesy Rajasthan Royals Academy UAE
Rajasthan Royals Academy UAE director Graeme Cremer with players at their facility in Dubai. Courtesy Rajasthan Royals Academy UAE

Kumar Sangakkara believes academies such as the Rajasthan Royals Academy in Dubai will pave the way for young players to pursue careers in both the Indian Premier League and international cricket.

Former Sri Lanka skipper Sangakkara, who is his country’s highest ever run-scorer in Test cricket, represented three IPL franchises across six seasons as a player, was announced as Rajasthan Royals director of cricket at the end of January.

Rajasthan Royals Academy UAE delivers a coaching programme devised by former Scotland captain and UAE head coach Dougie Brown, aimed at developing players suited for the modern game.

And Sangakkara, who recently worked alongside Brown in taking Team Abu Dhabi to third-place in the Abu Dhabi T10, is certain that the Royals academy at Dubai’s Sevens Stadium - which began its second term this month - will allow more players to hone the specialised skills required to be a success in the shorter formats and beyond.

“When you're talking about academies and other methods of coaching and preparation that augment and supplement the overall purpose or mission of cricket, it’s critical that you have a specialised focus at times on specialised skills and specialised formats,” said Sangakkara.

“The academy that Rajasthan Royals have in the UAE provides just that, a very specialised focus, a very specialised training environment that upskills young players to become successful in the game and that is a very, very good thing.

“So that you do understand the basics are the same, the technical make-up is very similar, but you train them from a very young age to be able to adapt and understand the requirements of different formats of cricket. At the same time they get a good grounding in technique in cricket as well and it is on that base that upskilling and expansion of repertoire happens.”

Sangakkara, 43, believes the UAE academy could supply stars to bolster both the ranks of the Royals and the national teams in the future.

“International cricket ... is everyone’s ultimate goal but the opportunities are very limited,” added Sangakkara. “If you take India, for instance, you’ve got such a large population that the chances of graduating through the system to represent India is very unpredictable.

“But franchise cricket has provided a lot of opportunities for players who might otherwise go unnoticed to try and display their skills and abilities. That has also paved the way as an avenue, in which if you succeed, you are noticed and you may get to represent the national side.”

Published: February 24, 2021 11:54 AM

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