Kings XI Punjab’s decision to appoint David Miller as captain ahead of this IPL season had raised eyebrows.
The South African had little experience of leading a side, except for captaining Kwazulu-Natal in the Africa Cup T20. However, in the absence of options, Miller was picked --- a decision that has come to haunt them.
Miller has been critical to Punjab’s plans over the last few years. Last season, he was the highest run-scorer with 357 from 13 innings. The season before that, his 446 runs along with Glenn Maxwell’s 552 was the engine that propelled the team to their only IPL final. In 2013, he fought a lone battle at times, ending the season as the team’s highest scorer with 418 runs.
However, KXIP’s decision to reward the consistency with captaincy has seen him score just 76 runs from six innings, with 30 coming in one match.
Now the franchise has sought to correct the situation by relieving him of captaincy and handing it to Murali Vijay.
“We felt David’s batting was suffering. The decision was to free him up from the additional responsibility,” coach Sanjay Bangar said on Saturday.
“He is an integral part of the team. IPL is such a format where the best of players sometimes sit out. It is not the first instance where midway through the season there has been a change in captaincy. I think eight or nine times in the past captains have been changed. Basically, we’re looking to turn things around and it is a step in that direction,” he added.
However, it seems the remedy may also prove to be a problem. Vijay’s form has also stuttered --- six innings yielding only 143 runs.
Bangar insisted Vijay was keen on captaincy.
“He did it successfully for Tamil Nadu and they won a couple of championships. But since then, he has not been available for TN on a regular basis. We felt he settled into the team nicely, which was not the case last year,” said Bangar.
“Having him will help the team quite a bit.”