The Indian Premier League (IPL) franchise, Kings XI Punjab (KXIP) announced their captain for the upcoming season as India off-spinner R Ashwin. This will be Ashwin’s maiden stint as a leader of an IPL team. Even though Yuvraj Singh, a former KXIP also in the team, was also in the reckoning, KXIP mentor Virender Sehwag said that he always wanted a bowler to lead the side.
Talking about the selection of the skipper, Sehwag said, “I always thought that a bowler should be made the captain because I was a big fan of Wasim Akram, Waqar Younis, and Kapil Dev. I thought a bowler would be the best candidate for our team’s captaincy. Yuvraj was also there in our minds. But a lot of votes from our support staff and owners went to Ashwin.”
For Ashwin, who was an integral part of the Chennai Super Kings (CSK) in IPL 2015, captaincy promotion was part of a “natural progression” after his seven-year international career.
Talking about the same, Ashwin said, “I see it as a natural progression for having played cricket for so long at the top level. I have always felt I had it in me (to be captain). WV Raman identified me as a captain when I was 21 years old. I ended up winning a few titles for TN. But for a bowler to become a captain, which is not something natural in the country, this is something fascinating.”
Known for his innovation and out-of-the-box thinking, Ashwin reckons in his “tactical and strategical sharpness” to keep things going on the field.
Speaking on the same lines, the thinking spinner said, “Being a bowler captain, I will be able to understand the bowlers and field changes. There are so many numbers and stats that can be crunched in T20s. I believe in a certain amount of preparation before a match. I also believe my tactical and strategic sharpness which might stand me in good stead. I think I have got enough experience inside the dressing room to be able to fall back on to with those decisions.”