After naming Ravichandran Ashwin as captain of Kings XI Punjab, the team’s director of cricket Virender Sehwag revealed the management had also considered Yuvraj Singh’s name as the captain.
Sehwag added that he wanted a bowler to lead the side. “Yuvraj is a great friend, but in cricketing matters, you keep friendships aside and we felt Ashwin will be a great leader,” Sehwag said.
Ashwin was a leading candidate for the position ever since he was bought by Kings XI for a whopping Rs 7.60 crore in the IPL player’s auction at the ITC Gardenia in Bengaluru in February.
Though Ashwin had never captained in the IPL before, he has frequently led his state Tamil Nadu in various domestic competitions.
He, however, has been a part of the IPL winning team twice in the past, and this season, he will be hungrier than ever to add a third title to the list.
Ecstatic with his appointment, Ashwin promised fans that with him at the helm, the Sher-e-Punjab would dish out a brand of cricket that both, players and fans, would be proud of.
“I feel honoured to be trusted with the responsibility of leading such a talented bunch of cricketers.I am confident of bringing out the best out of teammates. This is indeed a proud moment for me,” he said.
Regarding his ability to balance the pressures of captaincy with those of being one of the main strike bowlers of the team, the spinner said, “There is no additional pressure on me as such. I first led my stateside in first-class cricket when I was 21. I have done it in the past and I am sure that I will enjoy the challenge.”
The veteran off-spinner was a part of Chennai Super King until it was suspended in 2015 before he featured for Rising Pune Supergiant in the last two seasons.
He has bagged 100 wickets at an average of 24.99 and a modest economy rate of 6.55 in 111 IPL matches he has played so far.
Kings XI Punjab will begin their IPL campaign with an away game against Delhi Daredevils at the Feroz Shah Kotla Stadium on April 8 followed by a match against Royal Challengers on April 13 at M. Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bengaluru.