Ravichandran Ashwin is delighted to be the new king of the north and is rearing to let his balanced side go big on the Indian Premier League 2018 season. The newly appointed Kings XI Punjab will have the pressure of leading a pack which has never previously lifted the coveted IPL trophy and is desperate to end the drought. The experienced Tamil Nadu spinner is optimistic about his team’s chances and is confident that having the likes of veteran Virender Sehwag and Yuvraj Singh behind his back will help him immensely in his first ever season as a captain in the tournament.
Ashwin believes the leadership tips from Yuvraj and Sehwag, who have bundles of experience under their belt, will help him in his role as a captain and gelling around with the new set of players. Virender Sehwag will be continuing as the mentor of the side and has already made his intentions clear that the Kings XI Punjab will not leave any stones unturned in their quest of ending the title drought in the eleventh edition of the T20 competition. In his maiden season as the captain of an IPL outfit, a lot would depend on how Ashwin formulates his strategies through-out the gruelling season.
“For me, it is all about incorporating whatever I have learnt over the years. I have played under lot of captains including Viru paaji (Sehwag). My focus is on being strategically ahead of other captains,” said Ashwin. “Both Yuvi and Viru paaji have been my captains at different stages of my career. I played under Yuvi paaji in my first Challenger Trophy and he has played a big role in whoever I am today. Learning from experiences and taking advice is something I am never been averse to,” the off-spinner added.
Kings XI Punjab roped in a balance of youth and experience in the IPL auction and revamped the whole squad, retaining only Indian all-rounder Axar Patel. This time around too, their strong zone will be a strong batting unit consisting the likes of KL Rahul, David Miller, Yuvraj Singh and the West Indian powerhouse Chris Gayle who was a surprise last-minute edition by the Punjab outfit. However, Punjab looks unpromising in the pace department where they have only a few big names to do the job. Mohit Sharma and Barinder Sran are good Indian pacers but they only have Marcus Stoinis and Andrew Tye to seek some inspiration from.
Contrary to a shineless pace attack, Punjab looks promising in the spin department with their captain himself a veteran. Ashwin had earlier said he has been working on his variations and trying leg spin and has executed confidence in leading the attack. “From my own side I have always set fields on my own. I take pride in setting my own field and I really enjoy sharing my knowledge with all the bowlers. So I’ll intend to do the same and take the bowling unit as forward as possible,” said the Kings XI Punjab captain when asked if he would be needing on-field advice from other big names in the setup. Adding that he will do whatever it takes to help out his bowlers and get the best out of them.