Kings XI Punjab co-owner Preity Zinta is someone who takes too much interest at IPL auctions and during the fixtures of her franchise. In the inaugural season of the cash-rich league, when everything was new for all the eight-team owners, including Zinta, Preity ended up making a huge blunder in excitement.
During a recent Top Order Podcast, Neil Maxwell, the former Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of KXIP, revealed how Preity had designed a kit in 2008 which was not suited for players to take the field. Maxwell had already requested Preity to get the kit from a sports apparel provider, but the Bollywood actress wanted to design it herself.
“I remember going in to try and cut a deal with Adidas or Reebok at the time, and Bollywood actress Preity Zinta, who I’ve got to say was one of the more intelligent [owners] and she learned quickly about cricket and how it operated… but at the time, there was just the naivety. She just said, ‘No, we’re not going with those uniform companies. I’m taking care of the players’ costumes,” Maxwell recalled on the podcast.
“I knew we were in trouble when that word came out. But I said: Preity, we can just sign up with a sports apparel provider, and we’ll get it done and dusted, the competition starts in two weeks. We need to have uniforms. Anyway, [she said], ‘No, no, no Neil, I’ve sent someone to Taiwan, we’ve got the material coming, and I’ve got a prototype arriving in seven days,” he added.
When the kit finally arrived, KXIP players were left in splits, and Preity was left embarrassed. Former Australian speedster Brett Lee, who featured for KXIP in the first season, after looking at the kit, also took a dig at Preity and said that how would he get his arm over to bowl in that kit.
“I’ll never forget the day the prototype arrived. We were literally six days out from the competition, she pulled it out of the shopping bag, in front of. I think it was Brett Lee, Yuvraj Singh, and Sangakkara. She was so proud of these shirts, she pulled it out,” Maxwell recalled.
“And I’m not joking if you remember Michael Jackson’s Thriller, the red leather jackets that he wore [it was like that]. It had shoulder patches and zippers on it, the material… the boys were playing in 47-degree heat, and it was thicker than a suit. It had reflector stripes, the kind you wear on the road.
“The boys burst out laughing, and she was so insulted. I remember Brett saying, ‘Preity, look it’s fine. We’ve just got to work out one thing’. She said, ‘What’s that?’ And he goes, ‘just got to work out how to get my arm over to bowl a ball! Anyway, she threw it on the ground and stormed off, and we had four-five days to get the uniform sorted,” concluded Maxwell.