In sports, team meetings play a crucial part — before the game, during the game, and especially when the team is struggling to win. For floundering Kings XI Punjab though, it’s about meetings that invoke planetary positions and spiritual powers.
The frequency, intensity and the source — a numerologist — that the Kings XI called upon for a change of luck didn’t change their fortunes. On the other hand, those efforts have only landed them in trouble with a stern warning issued by the BCCI’s Anti-corruption and Security Unit (ACSU).
Wary of the numerologist’s dubious background — he has allegedly approached players from other teams as well — the ACSU has shot off a memo warning against any further involvement of the man. “The anti-corruption unit has warned Kings XI Punjab to keep the individual concerned away. He should not be with the team,” Rajeev Shukla, IPL chairman, confirmed to HT.
The numerologist, who was apparently introduced to the team by head coach Sanjay Bangar, had been allowed entry into the dressing room. No one other than the squad members and support staff are allowed in. “None of us, not even the president of Maharashtra Cricket Association (MCA), is allowed inside the dressing room. If a third person was allowed in, it is very wrong,” a top MCA official told HT. “They (Kings XI Punjab) would have consulted the numerologist very secretly, if at all.”
When asked, Bangar did not deny the development. After a moment’s stunned silence, he told HT he had “no idea” about the situation. Team manager Varoon Parmar too did not deny the development. “I have no idea about it. The franchise maybe able to tell you more about it,” he said. PRAY, PLAY Even before the IPL commenced, it is learnt that Kings XI owners had conducted a vaastu puja at Pune --- the venue hosted three of their ‘home’ games at the start of the season. The puja had no positive impact as the Punjab side lost all those ties. “One month before the season, just when Pune was decided as their home ground, Punjab had a vaastu puja done here,” the MCA official said.
After 10 games, Punjab languish at the bottom of the table with just two wins. The desperate owners, in a bid to not end the season at the bottom, have made pujas a regular feature.
“These guys don’t seem to understand that they just don’t pick a balanced team. That would help us win, not these pujas. But Priety Zinta (co-owner) consults some godman and keeps getting these regular pujas done,” a Kings XI Punjab player told HT.
Perhaps, instead of seeking divine intervention, racking their brains over cricket strategies could lead to a change of fortunes for KXIP.