Virender Sehwag (L) and Virat Kohli © Getty Images
Virender Sehwag (L) and Virat Kohli © Getty Images

Former India opener and current Kings XI Punjab mentor Virender Sehwag made a big point in KXIP’s press conference ahead of their tournament-opener versus Delhi Daredevils today. He pointed out that he would wish to see a  bowler succeed Virat Kohli as India’s next captain. A nightmare for bowlers’ during his playing days, Sehwag played an instrumental role in appointing Ravichandran Ashwin as Punjab’s skipper for IPL 2018.

On his expectations from Ashwin’s captaincy, Sehwag said, “I have played with him and I know the kind of mindset he has. He is the right choice to be captain of Punjab team. I am a great fan of a bowling captain. I watched Kapil Dev, Imran Khan, Wasim Akram as captains. In India generally you don’t give captaincy to bowlers, but hopefully after Virat (Kohli) some bowler will become the captain (of national team),” he added.

Talking about the KXIP team, Sehwag said, “We have the best team, if I compare last ten years. The team is a balanced one with right mix of Indian and foreign players. We have a set of players who believe in dealing in sixes and boundaries, they don’t believe in singles,” Sehwag joked as Chris Gayle was seated next to him.

Key batsman KL Rahul made it clear that he wasn’t looking at IPL as a platform to strengthen his case for Team India spot. The wicketkeeper-batsman said that there is always going to be immense competition for a spot in the national side, and he doesn’t want to dwell upon it in this tournament. He would be happy to take his side to the playoffs, and then compete hard for their maiden title.

“I take IPL as IPL and not a tournament where I have to showcase or prove anything to anybody. It is a new team for me and I want to contribute and make sure that our team reaches the play-offs in the tournament. Hopefully, I can help Kings XI win the tournament, that is my focus. With the kind of competition there is around, I don’t think anybody in the Indian team is a sure shot. It’s always going to be difficult, but that’s the challenge you want to improve yourself as an individual and as a sportsman everyday.”

“This is a new team, we promise to entertain and we promise to bring in a new brand of cricket. We will go out there and expresses ourselves and play aggressive cricket, that is what has been stressed about. Everybody wants us to win and we will put our best foot forward,” added Rahul.

Gayle said he was looking forward to a lot of entertaining cricket. ”It is a good squad and a good all round team.” When asked if he was following the auction, and hurt to have been picked at the last moment, Gayle had a funny reply up his sleeve, “ Well, I hope to hurt the bowlers. It is not going to be about Chris Gayle, it is going to be about team effort. Everyone has a role to play,” Gayle signed off.