Virender Sehwag explains the game of ego in the IPL auction
by Ankit Editor
Published - Feb 27, 2017 12:44 pm | Updated - Feb 27, 2017 12:45 pm
Kings XI Punjab after bagging the wooden spoon for two editions in a row desperately needs a serious turnaround. They had an overwhelming fan base back in Mohali but midway through last season, the stands were empty and eventually, the team ended up winning just 4 of the 14 matches they played. This year they have revamped the entire team management appointing new coaches for all departments and have put a bigger responsibility on Virender Sehwag’s shoulders.
He was the mentor of the team and looked after the development of players from the place last year. Talking about the elevation in his role with the team from being the mentor to Head of Cricket Operations and Strategy Sehwag in an interview with Wisden India said, “Essentially I was doing the same role last year. But with the exit of Sanjay Bangar – and we haven’t hired a new head coach – so my responsibility has increased. I had always given my inputs last year, but now I’m solely responsible for everything. Earlier, I was not the sole person, that is the difference now. With Sanjay leaving, it was the natural next step to take.”
Kings XI Punjab picked up three pacers in the IPL 2017 auction New Zealand express bowler Matt Henry, India’s Varun Aaron and uncapped Tamil Nadu seamer T Natarajan. They were also in the fray bidding for Tymal Mills and Kagiso Rabada. Explaining their intentions at the auction Sehwag said, “We wanted a good combination of Indians and foreigners to have for different roles. For example, we wanted some middle-order back-up, fast bowlers. There wasn’t more focus on fast bowlers as such, it was just that we identified that as one of the gaps in the team and that’s why we wanted a few pacers.”
“We knew that we wanted to get one fast bowler, which is why we also bid for Rabada and Mills. It’s true that nobody can get 100% of what they have anticipated considering the nature of the auction. Ego is what makes the difference (in the auction room). We were happy and satisfied with whom we got.” Sehwag further added mentioning that at time franchises bring in their ego and then the bidding war goes beyond expectations.
T Natarajan was an unknown property to many while he had definitely impressed the talent scouts with his performance in the Tamil Nadu Premier League. Viru feels they got lucky to have bagged him. “He was one of the only domestic bowlers with very versatile bowling qualities. I know that lots of other people also wanted him, but we got lucky.”
For the last two seasons, the team hasn’t been able to perform together as a unit and this time will be eager to overhaul that and make a mark and Sehwag thinks being where they are they can only go up. “We’re at the bottom of the league, at the eighth spot. Whatever happens will happen, I can’t control what happens on the field. We can’t do any worse from where we were. The only room for us is to go up, because we can’t go further down.”
He also said that in his view the Kings XI Punjab was the franchise that had the best outcome in the auction.