Virender Sehwag who is the mentor of Kings XI Punjab, while speaking to media, ahead of IPL 2018, explained team management’s decision to appoint Ravichandran Ashwin as the captain. The former Indian batsman said that he always believed that a bowler-captain can win you more games. “If 8, 10 or 15 runs are needed in the final over, only bowler can you win that game,” Sehwag said. The destructive opener backed his case by giving the examples of legends like Kapil Dev, Imran Khan and Wasim Akram.
“The way a bowler-captain thinks, he can also help other bowlers on the field. That is why I am a great fan of Kapil Dev, Imran Khan and Wasim Akram, who all made great captains,” Sehwag added. He said that even though the team’s bowling attack is relatively inexperienced, R Ashwin will bring the best out of them. Apart from Australia’s Andrew Tye, other Punjab fast-bowlers – Barinder Sran, Mohit Sharma and Ankit Rajpoot do not have too much experience of playing at the highest level.
Talking about the batting, Sehwag said that the team lacked good Indian players in last few years. He said, there were no big Indian names in the team apart from Wriddhiman Saha and Axar Patel. “If you want to win the IPL, you have to have good Indian players. We have four to five of them this time,” he said.
Punjab bought KL Rahul for a whopping Rs 11 crore in IPL auction 2018, making him the most expensive Indian batsman. They also bought Karun Nair and Manoj Tiwary to provide solidity to the middle-order along with the in-form Mayank Agarwal who scored over 2000 runs in this year’s domestic competitions.
“Guys like Rahul, Nair and Manoj Tiwary can hold the middle order. Then we have explosive openers in Gayle and Finch, and down the order we have David Miller. Hopefully, they will do well against spinners,” said Sehwag.
It will be interesting to see how the team will fit veterans Yuvraj Singh and Chris Gayle in the playing XI. Since Aaron Finch will miss the first match of the new season, Gayle should replace him in the starting XI but once the Aussie returns, things will get interesting for the think tank.
However, Sehwag believes that even if Gayle and Yuvraj can win two matches for the team, it will be a good return on investment. Both these players were bought by KXIP for Rs 2 crore.
“It is great that they have come to us at their base price. It is surely a bargain. Who knows if there were more bidders, they could have gone as high as USD 1 million. They are big names and match winners, even if they win two-three games for us, we would get the return on investment,” Sehwag said, after launching Kings XI Punjab’s new jersey.