Paddy Upton has stated that the Rajasthan Royals team in the Indian Premier League’s 2019 edition was its best ever among all the editions, despite the fact that the results didn’t go their way. The Upton-coached team finished seventh on the points table, with 11 points in 14 games.
Rajasthan Royals finished at the fourth place in the 2018 edition of the Indian Premier League and thereby and Paddy Upton was continued as the head coach of the side even in the 2019 edition. However, it turned out to be a poor season for RR yet again as they could only manage five wins with one match getting washed out.
RR lost their campaign opener against Kings XI Punjab from a winning position, after Jos Buttler was mankaded by Ravichandran Ashwin. Similarly, they lost two very tight games against Chennai Super Kings. While pointing out to the close shaves, the RR head coach felt that this season was of missed opportunities for his side.
"There are two aspects to it. In terms of practice, preparation, diets, and the new innovations that we brought into the game, I don’t think I have ever done a more comprehensive job with a team in any of the T20 tournaments. Obviously, it’s the player’s responsibility to perform on the field. The reality is that it was a season of missed opportunities. It was probably the best Rajasthan Royals team in all the IPLs so far, but it was our worst turnout,” Upton said in an interview, reported Express New Service.
The KXIP skipper’s mankading incident had cooked up a storm and even Upton opened up about the same.
“It is debatable. Was it spontaneous in his (Ravichandran Ashwin) bowling action or did he wait for Butler to fall out of the crease and then run him out. That’s one debate. The other debate is about what a team or an individual subscribes to, and that’s a personal preference. But walking off the field, virtually not one of his (Ashwin’s) teammates looked any of our players in the eye. I know some of their (KXIP) coaching staff really well. Even they couldn’t look me in the eye. To me that was a very strong tell-tale that the team didn’t necessarily subscribe to what had happened. All I did was shake his (Ashwin’s) hand… I just held his hand long enough to give him time to look me in the eye. I just waited and then let go,” he shared.
Upton was the Mental Conditioning coach and Strategic Leadership coach of the Indian team between 2008 and 2011 and it was during this period that the team made it to the top of Test rankings as well as won the World Cup. During his time with the Indian team along with the then head coach Gary Kirsten, the South African had known the players well and singled out MS Dhoni for his spirit.
“He clearly has the North Indian warrior-fighter spirit in him. He also has a really clever, strategic brain, and a steely composure… He certainly is different. He is calm and composed even under extreme pressure, and that gives other players permission to be calm as well. He was given a leadership position when you still had Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid, V V S Laxman, Virender Sehwag in the team… He was just really smart in his leadership, even though he was slightly junior,” signed off the 50-year-old.