Preity Zinta co-owned franchise ended all the wait and announced the name of their skipper for the eleventh edition of Indian Premier League (IPL). And it’s none other than India’s off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin.
Punjab based franchise took it to the social-networking site, Facebook to announce their skipper and posted a video in which team’s director Virender Sehwag told the fans the name of the skipper.
Ashwin emerged strong contender to lead KXIP the moment the franchise, mentored by Sehwag and co-owned by Bollywood actress Preity Zinta, bought him for Rs 7.6 crore during the player’s auction in January.
While India veteran Yuvraj Singh was the most popular choice among the team’s supporters, Sehwag revealed that Ashwin’s elevation to captaincy was based on the successes achieved by erstwhile bowling captains such as Wasim Akram, Waqar Younis and Kapil Dev.
Sehwag affirmed, “90 percent of fans were saying Yuvraj Singh was the best choice. But I was looking at someone different. I always thought a bowler should be captain. I was a huge fan of Wasim Akram, Waqar Younis and Kapil Dev.”
“I thought a bowler would be the best candidate for our team’s captaincy. Yuvraj Singh was also there in our minds. But a lot of votes from our support staff and owners went to Ashwin,” he added.
“Yuvraj is one of my best friends. But friendship doesn’t influence my cricketing decisions.” “We are thinking long-term. We are looking at having Ashwin as captain for the next three to four years. However, it also depends on how the upcoming season goes for us,” Sehwag added.
Yuvraj led KXIP to the semi-finals in the inaugural season of IPL in 2008.
Since then, he had played for the likes of the now-defunct Pune Warriors India, Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB), Delhi Daredevils (DD) and Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) but the Punjab all-rounder was never able to replicate his international performances in the cash-rich league.
The destructive left-hander, who is in the twilight of his career, was bought by KXIP in the mega-auctions at his base price of Rs 2 crore.
No additional pressure
After being appointed as KXIP skipper, Ashwin said: “I am confident of bringing the best out of teammates… There is no additional pressure on me as such. I first led my state side in first-class cricket when I was 21. I have done it in the past and I am sure I will enjoy the challenge.”
In 111 IPL matches, Ashwin has taken 100 wickets at an economy rate of 6.55.
Ashwin also said that Yuvraj will play a crucial role for his side. “For me, it’s all about Yuvi pa going out there and entertaining the fans. It’s important we play an impressive brand of cricket… He’s led Kings XI Punjab before and will be the first person I go to if I need any sort of advice on the field.”