IPL 2018: Ravichandran Ashwin to lead Kings XI Punjab
Indian off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin will lead the Kings XI Punjab in the eleventh edition of the Indian Premier League. The announcement was made public by Virender Sehwag during an interactive live session on Facebook.
The 31-year-old was purchased for Rs. 7.6 crore by the Punjab franchise during the auctions held in January, with the Chennai Super Kings, the side Ashwin played for until 2015, not retaining him.
Reports had earlier come in that Ashwin was set to lead the side, but a final confirmation was needed from the side's mentor, Virender Sehwag, who was in Switzerland, playing the St Moritz Ice Cricket League.
"There was also talk in the management about making Yuvraj captain. Yuvraj is a great friend, but in cricketing matters, you keep friendships aside and we all felt Ashwin will be a great leader for us", Sehwag was quoted as saying.
In the two years that Chennai was not part of the IPL, owing to their suspension after the betting scandal, Ashwin plied his trade for the Rising Pune Supergiant, one of the two interim franchises during the IPL 2016 and 2017.
Speaking on his own selection as captain, Ashwin said that one thing that fans can be assured of is that he won't be predictable as captain.
"There is no additional pressure on me as such. I first led my state side (Tamil Nadu) in first-class cricket when I was 21. I have done it in the past and I am sure that I will enjoy the challenge."
"I feel honoured to be trusted with the responsibility of leading such a talented bunch of cricketers. I am confident of bringing out the best out of teammates. This is indeed a proud moment for me," he told the Kings XI Punjab website.
Brad Hoge, the former Australian batsman who was named Punjab's batting coach for the next three years, congratulated Ashwin on Twitter, commenting on KXIP's post and calling the former CSK bowler a 'true leader'.
In a total of 111 games since 2009, Ashwin has picked up exactly 100 IPL wickets, at an economy of 6.55 and average of 25.00.
Kings XI Punjab full squad: Ravichandran Ashwin (captain), Axar Patel, Yuvraj Singh, Karun Nair, KL Rahul, Chris Gayle, David Miller, Aaron Finch, Marcus Stoinis, Manoj Tiwary, Mohit Sharma, Mayank Agarwal, Ankit Rajpoot, Mujeeb Zadran, Barinder Sran, Andrew Tye, Mayank Dagar, Akshdeep Nath, Ben Dwarshuis, Pardeep Sahu, Manzoor Dar.