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Yuvraj Singh played a huge role in my career: Ravichandran Ashwin

Yuvraj Singh and Virender Sehwag will be his guiding factors as Kings XI Punjab captain, says Ravichandran Ashwin.

cricket Updated: Mar 13, 2018 23:13 IST
Abhishek Paul
Abhishek Paul
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Yuvraj Singh,Ravichandran Ashwin,Virender Sehwag
Kings XI Punjab mentor Virender Sehwag and captain Ravichandran Ashwin unveil their team jersey for IPL 2018 in New Delhi on Tuesday.(PTI)

For Ravichandran Ashwin, the 2018 Indian Premier League (IPL) will be a test not just as a bowler but also as a captain. The Kings XI Punjab captain skipper will be one of the few, if not the only bowler, to lead a franchise this season.

The off-spinner admits he has ‘never captained a T20 game’ but adds he will look forward to taking advice from his former captains, Yuvraj Singh and Virender Sehwag.

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“Both Viru paji and Yuvi have been my captains at different stages of my career. Yuvraj Singh was my captain in the first Challenger series that I played. He played a big role in whoever I am today. Learning from them and taking advice is something I will never be averse to,” Ashwin said on the sidelines of King XI Punjab’s jersey launch.

“The first time I became captain I was 21 years old. Many seniors went to play the ICL and there was a huge void in the Tamil Nadu team. The coach (WV Raman) told me to lead the side. It was a different experience and I have a decent captaincy record too. But this is the first time I am captaining a T20 side.”

Dhoni’s influence

The 31-year-old Ashwin has played in the IPL only under MS Dhoni, for Chennai Super Kings and Rising Pune Supergiant. In 2017, Pune were led by Steve Smith but Ashwin missed the tournament.

Asked if there would be any similarity with Dhoni’s style of captaincy, the India Test team regular said, “I will go about my job and you guys can decide whether there is any similarity (with Dhoni). For me, it’s all about trying to incorporate whatever I have learnt all these years and be strategically ahead of the rest.”

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Ashwin added that he will have extra responsibility being a bowler. “You can associate leadership with pressure and power but I see it as a lot of responsibility. If you can use that in helping your teammates, then I think the team will be in very good shape,” he said.

“In T20 cricket, every bowler goes for runs, irrespective of his quality. So, if I can get a wrap around that and shape the outlook of the team while approaching a T20 game, I think half the job will be done. It’s not just today or tomorrow but we have a lot of years ahead of us. We will approach it that way.”

‘Better Indian players’

KXIP’s director of cricket operations Virender Sehwag was confident that the franchise, which has never won IPL, will do well under Ashwin.

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“We have spent so much money on the players, I hope it bears fruit. The main reason for failure in the earlier editions was because we didn’t have quality Indian players apart from Axar Patel and Wrddhiman Saha. But this time we have three to four players in our squad, who are representing India in one format or the other,” he said.

“This is the best KXIP squad in the last 10 years. In T20, any two players can change the game and I am confident we will see that this year.”

First Published: Mar 13, 2018 22:11 IST