With the IPL auction set to take place later this month, all eight franchises will be working on a strategy, to build their strongest possible squad for the new season.
King XI Punjab will be hoping to utilize this auction to build a fresh squad, as they try to win their first ever IPL trophy. Having an owner like Preity Zinta naturally attracts a lot of goodwill, which is something that KXIP hope will work in their favour.
Virender Sehwag, the coach of the KXIP, has recently spoken about his team and what he feels about their chances in the upcoming IPL season.
Q: Do you think any player will fetch more than Virat Kolhi’s Rs.17 crore price?
“Yes absolutely, there are 2-3 players who can fetch more. In an auction, when a team wants a specific player and there are a couple of other teams too, a bid that starts for ₹2 crores can end up going till even ₹20 crores.
We saw last time, Mumbai Indians didn’t have the money to buy Ben Stokes so he went for ₹14 crores. This time, everyone has the money for Ben Stokes. So maybe, he can cross Virat Kohli’s number.”
Q: Will Kings XI Punjab bid big this season?
“Yes, we are targeting big this year because our budget is bigger this year. We have around ₹58 crores to make a team. During previous IPL editions, we only had 38-40 crores to make a team, now we have Rs. 20 crores more.”
Q: Punjab fans are wondering: Why did you decide to retain Axar Patel despite so many international stars in the team?
“I think an Indian player’s value is more in the IPL. When we recruited Axar Patel three years back, he was an uncapped player. He came to Punjab for ₹30 lacs and since then, has played for India. If he would have been part of the auction, he could have definitely fetched ₹8-10 crores. He is a useful player like Ravindra Jadeja. Axar is in his category.
He is a bowling all-rounder, which is necessary, and he can bowl 4 overs. He has batted extremely well in a few matches last season. He is a big hitter. For the past 2 years, we have been trying to improve his batting. Then, he can become the perfect all-rounder.”
Q: Were you surprised when your Delhi colleague Gautam Gambhir wasn’t retained by KKR?
“I was not shocked, because every team has their own thinking. I was not shocked when Delhi Daredevils did not decide to retain me after having played there for the past 6 years. I too was part of the auction then.
I am not surprised. Many teams are parting with their old players because their price at the auction will be less, then maybe they might retain them. This could be their strategy of using RTM.”
Q: What will be the Kings XI strategy at the auctions?
“I still have 3 RTMs remaining and I will make use of them. I think creating a team around 4 core players is a better strategy than creating a team solely around one single player.”
Q: Do you reckon Yuzvendra Chahal could be a dark horse at the auctions? He’s been in fine form recently:
“I don’t know at what price he will go but RCB will definitely use RTM for him. If they don’t, then they will be stupid.”
Q: What about Gayle? Surprised that RCB didn’t retain him?
“No. Gayle is now getting old. He is not the same Gayle that he once was. Last year, he played in the IPL and his performance wasn’t at that level that he was once renowned for. Teams take into account this factor when they enter the auction. Maybe RCB might go after Gayle again at the auction.”