Kings XI Punjab (KXIP) are doing well this season under the captaincy of R Ashwin. The Tamil Nadu cricketer has impressed everyone with his game awareness. Before this tournament, he had played under the leadership of MS Dhoni in IPL. No wonder Australian cricketer Aaron Finch thinks there is a shade of Dhoni in Ashwin's captaincy.
Speaking to CricketNext, Finch expressed his delight to play under the captaincy of Ashwin. He added that the calmness that KXIP skipper has on the field comes from none other than Dhoni.
“I think Ashwin has been outstanding. While he hasn’t had a lot of experience of leading the side in the past, he has been a successful cricketer and has brought that to the table as a leader. He brings the group together and speaks to individuals before the game. Along with chief coach Brad Hodge, Ashwin has left no stone unturned when it comes to preparations for a game. He is very calm and that comes with playing under MS Dhoni. MSD is a cool guy and Ashwin has also been calm and made some great decisions,” he explained.
KXIP are now third in the points table after beating Rajasthan Royals (RR). The franchise is doing amazing because of the right combination of youth and experience, feels Finch.
“Teams who have won in the past has been those teams where the Indian players have done well. This year round, we have had some quality performance from the Indian players and hopefully, we can continue doings this. The team has also been aggressive and that I think has also helped. The batting and bowling in the powerplay has been special and highlights why we have been successful. Having experienced campaigners like Gayle, Ashwin and Yuvraj Singh has also helped as we have a good mix of youth and experience,” he said.
Finch hasn't delivered for Punjab. But he is keen to do well in the middle order. “I think they are playing beautifully at the top and that is a huge bonus as Gayle is one of the best T20 players and Rahul has also played like one of the best. Gayle is playing injury-free and enjoying the game and that is important. They are playing beautifully and I would love the opportunity to bat at the top, but I think these guys are doing really well. Been a disappointing fact that I have not contributed, but we have been improving as a unit and the team has still done well and that is a great sign. Couple of us haven’t been scoring heavily, hopefully, we can make an impact in the business end. To win the championship everyone has to contribute and that is something we are looking to change. I have been doing extra sessions and T20 isn’t easy,” he said.
“I don’t think it hampers where I bat. I have opened the batting for Australia and other franchises. But I batted in the middle-order for Gujarat Lions and that was a great learning experience. So hopefully, I will get better as I do it more. Just looking to improve my game.”
IPL gives a great platform for the youngsters. Finch said it's a great experience to play with the young-guns. “It has been great mentoring the youngsters, they are looking to learn. And having played in different conditions, it is important to share these experiences with the youngsters. It is an opportunity to learn from each other and they must keep asking questions,” he smiled.
On Yuvraj Singh's constant failures, Finch said it's just a matter of time when the southpaw will come handy for them. “Yuvraj has been hitting the ball really well and is a world-class player. We have seen him do the job not just in the IPL, but also for India over the years. I have no doubt he will come back to his best very soon,” he said.