With two days to go for the 11th edition of Indian Premier League (IPL), Virender Sehwag has labeled Kings XI Punjab squad as the most balanced one in the last 10 years. Sehwag, who will continue to act as the director and mentor of KXIP, further went on to say that the fans can expect some special things from the team this year.
“Fans can expect the world from us because this is the best Kings XI team in the last ten years. Believe me we have some fantastic domestic players (Yuvraj Singh, Karun Nair, Mayank Agarwal, K. L. Rahul, Manoj Tiwary, Mohit Sharma). And we have (Chris) Gayle. We ha the stuff to win the IPL,” Sehwag told Sportstar.
Earlier, the KXIP sides used to be lacking the quality Indian players but this time there is a number of top-notch domestic players in the squad. India’s seasoned off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin has been shouldered with the responsibility to lead the side that include Akshar Patel, Barinder Sran, Ankit Rajpoot among others in it.
Talking about the impact of IPL on Indian cricket over the years, Viru said: “Indian cricket has progressed and gained a lot from the IPL. It has given some very good players to the Indian team. The youngsters get noticed because of their performance in the IPL. It pushes their case along with their good showing in domestic cricket. Some of the players have now earned their spots in all formats after excelling in IPL.”
“Personally it has changed the mindset of the cricketers. It has changed how the game is played. IPL has changed the approach of the players to the game. See, how it has set the fast pace of scoring runs in all formats. There are more results in Test cricket because batsmen score quickly. Even 350 is not a safe target in one-day cricket now because of the IPL experience,” he explained.
Kings XI Punjab haven’t performed to their potential in the cash-rich Indian Premier League thus far. In the 10-year long history of the tournament, KXIP have qualified only twice in the playoffs. In IPL 2018, all eyes will be on the newly appointed head coach Brad Hodge and mentor turned director of cricket Sehwag as how the duo changes the fortune of the side.
Sehwag, however, doesn’t want to put additional pressure on the players. Just like his batting style, Viru wants them to enjoy the game and play freely.
“I don’t put pressure on them because that’s the way I played my cricket. There is no point in creating pressure. I played freely. I want my players to play freely. Give your best. Don’t invite stress by thinking too much about the result. I insist on good atmosphere in the dressing room,” Sehwag remarked.
“They know their game. I give them the feeedom to chase their game. I concentrate on ensuring they don’t get bored. It’s not easy to keep doing the same things day in [and] day out. Practice, match, flight and again practice, match, flight. It can get boring. I drag them away from the boring schedules. I want them to enjoy their cricket and travel. I have allowed them to bring their families too. You have to give them their space,” he elaborated.
Virender Sehwag concluded by talking about his experience of playing in the lucrative league.
“I have enjoyed my experience as a player for eight years. It was thrilling, winning matches for the franchises. I was satisfied with my playing career in IPL. Now my role is to mentor the team, guide the players, boost their morale,” Sehwag signed-off.