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Former India cricketer and legend Virender Sehwag, who is the team director of the IPL franchise, Kings XI Punjab, has given special insights about some key factors of the upcoming 11th season of the cash-rich Indian T20 league. Sehwag said that while Kohli was bought for a whopping 17 crore by Royal Challengers Bangalore, there was one player who could give Kohli a run for his money, and that is England cricketer Ben Stokes.
Ahead of the much-hyped IPL player auction on 27 and 28 January in Bengaluru, Sehwag circumvented issues like the top-paid player, Right to Match (RTM) card, and Kings XI Punjab’s target signings, among other issues.
‘Election se Selection’
The 11th season of the Indian Premier League will have a new key feature – ‘Election se Selection’. The feature is a game changes, as Virender Sehwag believes, as it will offer unparalleled participation to the IPL fans, living in and outside India. Sehwag told Cricket Next,
“First time the fans are getting an opportunity to pick their favorite player, vote for them, and the team that they want the players to play for. I think it’s a great opportunity for the fans and it’s a great initiative by ‘Star’ (IPL Broadcasters),”
“In last ten years, we have never seen fans getting involved (in player auction). Only the franchise did little bit that it could. But now it’s an opportunity for those who are sitting even outside India, they can vote for their favorite player and favorite team.”
Highest-paid player in IPL 2018
Virender Sehwag said that after Virat Kohli was retained by RCB for 17 crores, there was now only one player who could possibly overtake Kohli, and that is England all-rounder Ben Stokes. The former Indian opening batsman said,
“Virat Kohli, no doubt is the top contender to go as the highest-paid cricketer in IPL. The only player who can beat Kohli to the mark is (England cricketer) Ben Stokes. Otherwise I think it will be Kohli for sure.”
Who will Kings XI Punjab target in the player auction
Sehwag said that for his team, the priority would be to target 3-4 star Indian players in the auction. He said,
“The biggest bids for Kings XI Punjab will be the Indian players. I think that we will target the Indian players for sure. We have identified around 30 players for the IPL auction and we will try to get a hold of at least 3-4 big players out of those.”
Right to Match card
Virender Sehwag has pointed out to the fact that the RTM card will be used quite tactically in the player auction of the 11th season of the IPL. He gave an example of how a RTM card can be/should be used, and said,
“There are a lot of players, but I will give you an example of (Royal Challengers Bangalore) Bangalore. If Bangalore wants to retain KL Rahul, or maybe (Yuzvendra) Chahal, and they have only 1 RTM card remaining. So, we (KXIP) will make sure that we push their price to 10-12 crores, so that they have to think twice before using their RTM card.”
IPL Retention Policy
The ‘Sultan of Multan’ named two IPL clubs and said that they were always renowned for using their retention power too well. He said that picking three good players is very advantageous for the teams as building the whole squad around those three players comes easy. Sehwag said,
“Mumbai (Indians) and Chennai (Super Kings) have always used their retention policy well. They are always known to spend their amount of 80 crores, and they picked three of their best players (in retention). Even Delhi (Daredevils), they picked three players because it is easy to build the team around three players, rather than one player or no player.”
Winner of IPL 2018?
Virender Sehwag said that he wanted one of those teams to win, who have not won a single championship in all the seasons so far. He also took Kings XI Punjab’s name when he said,
“This time I would want that the team who has not won a single league title till now, wins the championship this season. Be it any club – Kings XI Punjab, Delhi Daredevils or Royal Challengers Bangalore. So any team out of these three should win the 11th season of the IPL. Because it will be only once a new winner emerges, that IPL will be more fun.”
What’s unique about IPL 2018?
Although there will be many records and antics that will take place for the first time in the Indian Premier League, the biggest difference for Sehwag was that ‘Star’ channel was broadcasting the T20 action. He said,
“They have a different broadcaster. It is one of my favorite broadcasters. You can watch the 11th season of the IPL on Star Sports and you can even listen to me as I will be doing a little bit of the commentary. I think Star Sports is everybody’s favorite now.”