Runners-up in this year’s IPL, Kings XI Punjab are looking forward to the upcoming Champions League Twenty20 challenge with skipper George Bailey saying that the side is focused and well prepared for the games ahead.
When asked if the CLT20 tournament would be a fresh start for the team after it put up its best ever performance in the IPL reaching the finals, Bailey, said, “It is a new start, we take the good things out of IPL, what we learnt as a team and hopefully how much we grew, but I think we focus on the games ahead, it is very much a fresh start.”
With KXIP hoping to break the IPL jinx of not winning the title, Bailey said, “It was a good IPL, but it wasn’t the IPL that we wanted (not winning the title), so there’s still a plenty of room for improvement.”
Asked how he assesses his current form, he said he is in good form.
“The form is nice, I am feeling good, had some runs in the practice the other day,” he said.
Asked about injury to team’s frontline bowler Mitchell Johnson, KXIP caoch Sanjay Bangar said, “as of now, we are still waiting for clearance from Cricket Australia. We cannot really take a call as of now as we are still waiting for his clearance.”
Bangar said that Mitchell Johnson is a quality performer, who always leads the team attack, but the team is ready for the upcoming tournament even if he is not available.
“Whether he is available or not, we still have a group of individuals who are capable of executing the role that is being given to them. It will be good if he is available, but we are ready to cope with the eventuality of his non-availablity,” Bangar pointed out.
About Virender Sehwag’s role, Bangar said it would not be any different from the IPL.
“He plays cricket the way only he can play. We have given him a lot of freedom even in the past season and this season is going to be no different. Obviously, he has been giving us a good start,” he said.
Bangar also said that a top format like IPL is beneficial for the young players as they can gain from the professionals who play at the highest level.
“Words of wisdom from these players certainly do help the younger players and they benefit from their knowledge,” he said.
Meanwhile, Bailey said that playing at Mohali before the home crowd was always special.
“It is nice to be settled in one place and we get good support from the crowds. That makes a big difference, it gives you a good feeling as a playing group,” he said.