Kings XI Punjab co-owner Preity Zinta has come down hard on team director Virender Sehwag after a decisive loss to Rajasthan Royals in their last match. Sehwag, who is part of KXIP for past few seasons was at the end of a serious verbal barrage from Zinta on Tuesday.
This incident may cause Sehwag to end his five-year association with the franchise, owned by Preity, Ness Wadia, and businessman Mohit Burman, at the end of the IPL 2018.
Reports suggest that Preity approached Sehwag and questioned him on the tactics used in the game which led to KXIP losing to RR. It all happened in front of players who had not retired to the dressing rooms yet.
“Against Rajasthan Royals, skipper Ravichandran Ashwin was sent in at number three, ahead of more accomplished batsmen such as Karun Nair and Manoj Tiwari. The move backfired as Ashwin fell for a duck, and Preity launched into Sehwag for the decision,” a source told Mumbai Mirror.
The source said Sehwag initially played it cool. “However, when Preity continued to blame him, saying ‘unnecessary’ tinkering with the playing XI had led to a spate of defeats, Sehwag tried to reason with her,” the source said.
According to the source, it is not the first time when Sehwag had a problem with Preity Zinta ‘interfering’ in his job. “Viru had told the other owners to rein in Preity. He told the owners that he’ll not comment on Preity’s acting chops and she should refrain from talking about his cricketing acumen,” a franchise source said.
It was Sehwag who played a big role in bringing in Chris Gayle and R Ashwin into the franchise at the auction earlier this year. KXIP currently is third on the points table and are more than likely to qualify for the playoffs.
“Preity was frustrated that the team had lost three out of their last four games. But then, she picked the wrong person to vent out on,” the eyewitness said.
Mirror also reported in 2016 how the then coach, Sanjay Bangar, was threatened with sacking by Zinta after a string of failures.
Sehwag has refused to comment on the issue as he does not want his players to lose focus especially with almost having one foot in the playoffs.