As per the recent reports of Mumbai Mirror, Virender Sehwag, who is the mentor of the Indian Premier League (IPL) franchise Kings XI Punjab (KXIP) was engaged in an intense verbal banter with the team’s co-owner Preity Zinta on Tuesday after the Kings failed to chase a modest target of 158 against Rajasthan Royals (RR). The repercussions of the altercation may lead to end Sehwag’s five-year association with the franchise, jointly owned by Preity, Ness Wadia, and businessman Mohit Burman, after IPL 2018.
People who witnessed the altercations said that Preity approached Sehwag even before the players had reached the change rooms after the match and questioned him about the ‘tactics’ used during the game.
One of the sources of Mirror said, “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.”
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The source further added, “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.”
According to these reports, this wasn’t the first time Sehwag has had a problem because of Preity “interfering” in his job. The source said, “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.”
One of the closest people to Viru told Mirror that he kept his cool and is not commenting because he doesn’t want to distract the players, especially at such a crucial stage of the tournament.
A few people connected to the franchise played down the incident, calling it a “routine post-match conversation between the owner and the team mentor”. They, however, conceded she was “upset” with the result.
When contacted, co-owner Mohit Burman, he said he was not present at the venue. “But as far as I know, there is no problem. I have spoken to Viru and Preity,” he said.
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Ironically, in IPL 2018, as the team’s mentor, Sehwag has done a great job by Ashwin and Chris Gayle during auctions. Before this IPL, KXIP was regarded as one of the underachieving franchises in the IPL, but now the things are looking bright for the team with Kings XI currently placed third on the points table and looking well placed to qualify for the playoffs.
One of the eyewitnesses also said, “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.”
This is not the first time that KXIP team management had to go through off Preity’s verbal lashings. In 2016, Sanjay Bangar (then coach) was threatened with sacking by Zinta after a string of failures. On that occasion, after denying the incident, Preity took to social media to show her frustration.