Kings XI Punjab captain Adam Gilchrist said that the franchise have a better squad this year which gives him the confidence to do well in the sixth edition of the Indian Premier League.
“It’s a new challenge now. We have got different set of players. In the last two seasons,we have been in running for semi-finals (berth) till (our) last game. We have strengthened the squad from last year,” KXIP captain Adam Gilchrist told a press conference here.
41-year-old Gilchrist,who had earlier led Deccan Chargers to IPL title in 2009,was asked how he intends to resurrect the sagging fortunes of the KXIP,he replied,”There were plenty of options in the batting department including young Mandeep Singh,Paul Valthaty,Luke Pomersbach while presence of Parvinder Awana,Praveen Kumar,Manpreet Gony and Piyush Chawla strengthens the side’s bowling.”
After indicating last year that he would bid adieu to IPL as a player,Gilchrist said that after talking to team management that he had one year of his contract still left,he wanted to finish that off.
Gilchrist,who had last season shouldered the responsibility of captain-cum-coach,also added that with presence of Darren Lehman and W V Raman,it has allowed him to “comeback as a player and player only and focus on that… I am very excited looking forward towards enjoying a successful season.”
Lehmann also said that he was “looking forward to the
challenge ahead..the boys here have been training hard and I
am excited about young players that we have.”
Gilchrist said that one of the areas where the team,which finished at sixth position last year,would be looking to improve is to perform consistently.
The team has,in the previous seasons,put up performance in patches,but failed to maintain the momentum.
“We will be trying to hold the middle ground,” said Gilchrist,wary that the team has had string of losses or string of victories in between,but failed to maintain the consistency.
He also expressed contentment with the team’s spin bowling options in Piyush Chawla and Bipul Sharma.
Team Chief Operating Officer (COO) Retd Col Arvinder is also confident of a good show by his players. “For a change,we have problem of plenty,” remarked Arvinder,indicating that the side was spoilt for choice.
The COO said that the team had released nine players and added five including two from auction and three from outside.
He also said that unlike last year when there were some injury concerns and visa problem faced by all-rounder Azhar Mahmood,this year all but one of the 25 players in the pool were available.
Col Arvinder informed that dashing Australian batsman Shaun Marsh,who has undergone “hamstring surgery is expected to join the squad by April 20. Rest all the 24 players including Azhar,who last year had faced some visa problems,are already here.”
When asked about the “non payment” of pending security bills worth around Rs 9 crore by his team to the Chandigarh police,he said they were yet to receive any communication from the police in this regard.