Team India off-spinner legend and cricketing veteran Ravichandran Ashwin was bagged by the Kings XI Punjab (KXIP) at the auction of the 2018 edition of the Indian Premier League. While the IPL fans were still absorbing the fact that the Chennai Super Kings (CSK) favorite had now moved on to KXIP, Ashwin was named the captain of the Kings XI for IPL 2018. Here, is his very first interview with the Kings XI Punjab.
The 31-year-old has gained rich cricketing experience over the years, and will be seen leading the team who has world class veterans such as Yuvraj Singh, David Miller and Chris Gayle. In an interview with the Youtube channel of Kings XI Punjab, Ashwin spoke about his newly-acquired role, and what it entails for the IPL 2018 season, KXIP, and the other IPL teams.
Ashwin has learnt from many captains such as Dhoni, Kohli, Gautam Gambhir, Virender Sehwag
Ashwin was asked in the very first interview after him becoming the captain of the KXIP franchise, about the captain who has been the most inspiring for the Tamil Nadu cricketer. Counting out the captains who have had the most impact on Ashwin, he replied,
“Actually in the IPL, I’ve played with just one captain and one team (till now). But obviously I’ve played under other captains with the Indian team – Virat Kohli as captain and Viru paa (Virender Sehwag) himself as captain for a few games, Gautam Gambhir (too). But what I have tried and embibe is the best qualities from each one of them, and try to see how I can actually learn from it and what my limitations are, what my challenges would be.”
Ashwin spoke about MS Dhoni, Virat Kohli, Virender Sehwag and Gautam Gambhir and spelled out the traits that came off as most valuable for the KXIP captain.
“As I embark on this kind of tricky and very enjoyable journey, I think I’ll learn on the way but for me MS Dhoni is someone who is always explored the bit of being calm and trying to assimilate most of those things and make rational decisions.”
“Virat is someone who is very ‘In your face’ kind of a captain, who is a go-getter who leads by example. ‘Viru paa’ is a very relaxed captain who gives you a lot of freedom and allows you to explore things.”
“Gambhir is someone who is very strategic, very planned, very meticulous, so all these are great qualities that I have imbibed from these guys and it’s very exciting if I can put all of them to good use.”
Ashwin was expecting the captaincy role in KXIP
Ravichandran Ashwin had made his debut for Team India in 2010 before which he had captained the Tamil Nadu cricket team a few times. And it was only in 2010, that the off-spinner was selected to play in the Indian Premier League after getting bagged by the Chennai Super Kings, his home-town based IPL team.
Skipping to 2018, Ashwin has gained immense cricketing experience in both, the IPL and Team India, and hence is ready to captain a team for his own in IPL 2018. When asked if he had ever expected to captain a team, Ashwin said,
“I think every cricketer who has; managed to last a certain distance and be around for some time and has a bit of leadership acumen about him: tends to expect such opportunities. I think I’m a lot more settled right now, I have learnt a lot more in my cricketing career and I hold myself in a decent stead to actually go ahead and try and explore these opportunities.”
“But now it’ll be a totally different kettle of fish, I’ll be handling a lot of superstars in my own team and people that have actually captained me in the past.”
Ashwin’s plans for Kings XI Punjab in IPL 2018
Ravichandran Ashwin informed that his main focuses were two – to play the IPL 2018 games as a team and a unit, which displays totality rather than individual performances, and to avoid predictability as much as possible. The other IPL 2018 teams better watch out for Kings XI Punjab and Ashwin as he said,
“So far it has been ‘this guy is performing, the team lets him down’. That’s not how it’s gonna be under me, we’ll come together as a pack and try and back one another. So we’re looking at it as a totality and try and exhibit team orientation rather than individual dissection of performances.”
“Predictability is something that I would like to avoid because clearly, T20 cannot be played in a monotonous fashion. I’ll try and be as proactive as possible and try and shake up the game plans of the opposition. That’s kind of my key.”