Kings XI Punjab name R Ashwin captain for Indian Premier League 2018
India cricketer R Ashwin will lead Kings XI Punjab in the upcoming edition of the Indian Premier League. The franchise made the announcement on Monday through a Facebook live with team director and mentor Virender Sehwag spilling the beans with the spinner sitting next to him.
The veteran offie was part of the Chennai Super Kings camp until it was suspended a couple of years back and spent the last two seasons with Rising Pune Supergiant. This year, however, the former champions didn’t even step in the bidding war as Kings XI swooped Ashwin for Rs.7.6 crore after brushing off Rajasthan Royals.
Addressing the audience, Sehwag admitted that a number of fans and followers felt that Yuvraj Singh would be the right choice but he felt that Ashwin would be better suited to don the captain’s hat. “I always thought that a bowler should always be the captain. I was a huge fan of Wasim Akram, Kapil Dev, Waqar Younis… they were all great bowlers and went on to lead their teams successfully. I hope Ashwin will do the same and help us reach the qualifying stages and the final,” the former India opener said.
In 10 seasons, Kings XI Punjab are the only franchise besides Delhi Daredevils to have played every single edition without lifting the coveted trophy. They did make it to the final once in 2014, but lost to Kolkata Knight Riders. “The best quality of Ashwin is that he knows the format extremely well. He’s bowled in the powerplays, bowled in slog overs etc. I feel it’s the right choice as a bowler knows best when to switch bowlers during the course of a game,” Sehwag added.
Ashwin, too, was excited. He hasn’t represented India in the shortest format since July 2017 and might want to use the razzmatazz league as a platform to bounce back to form. “I feel honoured to be trusted with the responsibility of leading such a talented bunch of cricketers,” said Ashwin, “I am confident of bringing out the best out of teammates. This is indeed a proud moment for me. There is no additional pressure on me as such. I first led my state side in first class cricket when I was 21. I have done it in the past and I am sure that I will enjoy the challenge.”
In 111 IPL matches so far, Ashwin has 100 wickets to his name at an average of 24.99 and a modest economy rate of 6.55.
Ashwin also went on to explain that Yuvraj Singh will play a crucial role in his squad given that the veteran southpaw brings a lot of experience to the table besides his all-round abilities. “For me it’s all about Yuvi paa going out there and entertaining the fans. As I told you, it’s important that we play an impressive brand of cricket,” Ashwin further added.
“As far as I’m concerned, I would love to see him hit freely and hit those big shots. I’m willing to give him as many overs as possible and feel he’ll be one of the best batsmen of our side. He’s led Kings XI Punjab before and will be the first person I go to if I need any sort of advice on the field.”