Updated: February 27, 2018 2:00:19 pm
Kings XI Punjab on Monday announced that off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin will lead the franchise as the captain for the upcoming season of Indian Premier League. KXIP mentor, Virender Sehwag made the announcement in a Facebook Live video via the franchise’ official page. Speaking to reporters after the announcement, the former Indian opener said that he always wanted a bowler to lead the side.
“I always thought that a bowler should be made the captain because I was a big fan of Wasim Akram, Waqar Younis, and Kapil Dev. I thought a bowler would be the best candidate for our team’s captaincy,” the 39-year old was quoted as saying by Times of India. The cricket-turned-commentator further added that Indian allrounder Yuvraj Singh, who had earlier led Punjab as skipper in the inaugural season of the tournament, was also in contention to be named as the captain.
“Yuvraj was also there in our minds. But a lot of votes from our support staff and owners went to Ashwin,” Sehwag said.
Speaking to reporters, the former Chennai Super Kings bowler, said that becoming a captain is a “natural progression” for him. “I see it as a natural progression for having played cricket for so long at the top level. I have always felt I had it in me (to be captain). WV Raman identified me as a captain when I was 21 years old. I ended up winning a few titles for TN. But for a bowler to become a captain, which is not something natural in the country, this is something fascinating,” the 31-year old was quoted as saying by TOI.
Ashwin, who earlier played for CSK for 7 years since IPL 2009, further added that he has confidence in his tactics and strategies to become a successful skipper.
“Being a bowler captain, I will be able to understand the bowlers and field changes. There are so many numbers and stats that can be crunched in T20s. I believe in a certain amount of preparation before a match. I also believe my tactical and strategic sharpness which might stand me in good stead. I think I have got enough experience inside the dressing room to be able to fall back on to with those decisions,” he said.
Speaking about his goals for the upcoming season of IPL, which is set to begin from April 7, 2018, Ashwin added that he needs to be “realistic”. “I think one has to be realistic. For me, the goal will be to have a good season, get a lot of players performing with most of the guys ticking the right boxes. I will try to build a sound team culture. I will try to create a best performing environment for the team so that they are in the best space inside the room to go out there and express themselves,” he said.
“I have seen four-five captains in my career so far. All of these captains have a lot of positives in them. It’s all about trying to take different positives and attributes from each one of them and try to put it to use in my game. Sehwag is instinctive, has a sound mind and mentally a strong person. I look to pick those things and become better,” Ashwin added.
In 111 IPL matches, Ashwin has taken 100 wickets at an average of 24.99 and a solid economy rate of 6.55. He was bought at the IPL auctions in January for Rs 7.6 crore by KXIP.
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