The fourth season of the Indian Premier League that began yesterday starts a new chapter for the star-franchise owner of Kings XI Punjab. Preity Zinta, who moved court to ensure that her team wasn’t expelled from the T20 League, is now trying to figure out her dates so she can attend all her team’s matches, starting this Sunday.
Preity had been cheering through all the matches during the previous three seasons, but last year, after her break-up with Ness Wadia, also a co-owner of Kings XI Punjab, she was missing in action. Now, she’s back in the studios and her date diary is packed. “Still, I want to be there for all the matches,” she says.
On being asked whether she, Shilpa Shetty (Rajasthan Royals) and Shah Rukh Khan (Kolkata Knight Riders) were targeted by the Board of Cricket Control of India (BCCI) for their friendship with Lalit Modi, the actor insists she met the former chairman and commissioner of the IPL only after the annual event started. “I’m thankful to the Indian judiciary system for helping me come out clean from the murky controversy,” she asserts.
She goes on to add that while she’s not a feminist, her father was a progressive man and her mother, a principled woman. “And as their daughter, I hate the fact that if you’re doing something that involves men, people instantly jump to conclusions,” she grouses, referring to her alleged link-ups with team members, Brett Lee and Yuvraj Singh, when she was still in a long-term relationship with Ness.
“Am I some chick with no morals? Or was I in only because my boyfriend had bought the team for me? Fortunately, the court verdict has cleared a lot of misconceptions. Now people know that I have the money and capability to run a franchise on my own,” she adds.
Putting last year’s troubles behind, Preity is optimistic about her team, which this season is being captained by Adam Gilchrist and coached by Michael Bevan. Kings XI Punjab’s first match is against Pune Warriors, the team that will be led by former captain Yuvraj Singh, who was instrumental in helping India win the World Cup.
“Yuvi has always been one of my favourite players. We had a connect and supported him even when he was not in form. I’m really happy for him,” she smiles. “The Kings are just going to go out there and rock it. After last year, we can only do better.”