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IPL 2018: Virender Sehwag reveals why Kings XI Punjab chose Ravichandran Ashwin for captaincy

Ram Kumar
7.22K   //    27 Feb 2018, 01:34 IST

Sehwag Ashwin Kings XI Punjab
Sehwag has backed captain Ashwin to hit the ground running (Image Courtesy: KXIP Twitter)

What's the story?

Kings XI Punjab (KXIP) mentor and head of cricket operations Virender Sehwag has opened up on the franchise's decision to appoint Ravichandran Ashwin as captain for the upcoming season of the Indian Premier League (IPL).

While Yuvraj Singh might have been the more popular choice among the team's supporters, the former Indian opener revealed that Ashwin's elevation to captaincy was based on the successes achieved by erstwhile bowling captains such as Wasim Akram, Waqar Younis and Kapil Dev.

Sehwag affirmed, "90 percent of fans were saying Yuvraj Singh was the best choice. But I was looking at someone different. I always thought a bowler should be captain. I was a huge fan of Wasim Akram, Waqar Younis and Kapil Dev. They were all great bowlers and went on to lead their teams successfully. I hope Ashwin will do the same and help us reach the qualifying stages and the final."

The background

On Monday, Kings XI Punjab unveiled Ashwin as their captain for the 2018 IPL season. Having not been retained by his former club Chennai Super Kings, he had gone into the auction wherein KXIP acquired his services for INR 7.6 crores.

The heart of the matter

In an interview with Wisden India, Ashwin divulged that Kings XI Punjab had honed in on him for the role of captaincy and Sehwag kept him in the loop as early as at the end of the first day of the auction in Bengaluru.

Ashwin quipped, "It might have come as a big surprise to many that a batsman (Sehwag) plumped for a bowler as the captain. But we have come to expect the unexpected from Viru pa. I feel that a bowler is in the unique position as a captain. And while I am sure many people would have told Viru pa to reconsider having a bowler as the skipper, it is a great chance for me to contribute to making the team a strong unit."

With the likes of Yuvraj Singh, KL Rahul, David Miller, Aaron Finch and Chris Gayle also in the squad, Kings XI had an interesting dilemma regarding the role of captaincy. Eventually, the team management decided to go with Ashwin due to his extensive experience as bowler and capability of operating adeptly at different stages of the game.

What's next?

Sehwag has declared that KXIP are looking at Ashwin as a long-term captaincy option. However, the off-spinner's leadership journey will depend a lot on his team's performance in the upcoming season.

Kings XI Punjab will begin their campaign in the 2018 IPL by locking horns with Delhi Daredevils at the Feroz Shah Kotla on April 8.

Author's take

As evidenced by Shane Warne's inspirational leadership which propelled Rajasthan Royals to a fairy-tale triumph in the inaugural IPL edition, appointing a thinking bowler as captain is a shrewd move. With plenty of prominent players in the Kings XI lineup, Ashwin will be hoping to make a mark at the helm of affairs.

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Ram Kumar
Someone who views sport as a metaphor for life.
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