Former India cricketer Virender Sehwag stepped down as the mentor of Kings XI Punjab (KXIP) to end his five-year association with the Indian Premier League (IPL) franchise. Sehwag, who joined Kings XI as a player in the year 2014, took over the role of a mentor after two years and performed the same for three years until 2018.
But KXIP fans have been dealt with a disappointing news. Viru, known for his aggression and out of the box thinking was expected to change the fortunes of KXIP, but things didn’t go according to plan.
Sehwag revealed that he was asked to step down from his post as the franchise didn’t need any mentor or brand ambassador. He also added that it wasn’t his decision to step down.
All good things must come to an end and I've had a wonderful time at Kings 11 Punjab, for 2 seasons as a player and 3 as a mentor. My association with Kings 11 comes to an end and I am thankful for the time I have had here and wish the team all the very best for the times ahead.
— Virender Sehwag (@virendersehwag) November 3, 2018
Reports claimed that it was his tiff with co-owner Preity Zinta last season that forced him to take this step, but Sehwag stated otherwise. When quizzed about the reason, Sehwag said, “I’ve received a mail from the franchise stating that they won’t be needing a brand ambassador and a mentor…It was their decision, so I had no role in the decision-making process. I don’t think the incident had anything to do with my exit.”
But then is it true? One feels it is a culmination of his reported tiff with Preity that created the base and following that the next happenings materialised. Coach Brad Hodge was let gone. Mike Hesson was roped in and now Sehwag confirmed his departure.
Here are all the highlights.
What had happened between Preity and Sehwag?
In the 2018 edition of the IPL, there were reports that suggested that the actress and Sehwag were involved in a war of words. The incident was believed rot have occurred after KXIP’s loss against Rajasthan Royals. Preity was unhappy with the decision of experimenting with the team strategies and combinations.
Against Rajasthan Royals, skipper Ravichandran Ashwin was sent in at number three, ahead of more accomplished batsmen such as Karun Nair and Manoj Tiwari. The move backfired as Ashwin fell for a duck, and Preity had a heated exchange with Sehwag for the decision that saw the side face defeat in the end eventually.
The report in Mumbai Mirror had also claimed that after the side failed to chase Royals’ meagre target of 159, the KXIP co-owner had approached Sehwag even before the players made their way back to the team dug-out.
Reports of feud made Preity angry
The Bollywood actress had hit back at the report by Mumbai Mirror and took to Twitter to claim that a conversation between herself and Sehwag was blown out of proportion. She also claimed that she was made the villain.
KXIP had issued a statement and called it a figment of imagination.
KXIP’s statement read, “This is in response to the media articles that have been published in the last couple of days on the supposed disagreement which was reported after Kings XI’s last game. The stories have led to a lot of speculation and we at Kings XI Punjab would like to clearly state that as part of our management process, (as well as other franchisees) we review our performance on and off the field after each game through both, formal and informal discussions.”
“It is unfortunate that this open and transparent culture has been misconstrued and highlighted in a negative manner, so as to tarnish and damage our image as well as that of the IPL,” the release added.
Mumbai Mirror gets it wrong again because we didn’t do Media net & pay them to write articles cuz that’s the only time they get it right. A conversation between Viru & me has been blown out of proportion & suddenly I’m a Villian ! Wow ! #fakenews https://t.co/qGOYhCiVtV
— Preity G Zinta (@realpreityzinta) May 11, 2018
KXIP removed coach Hodge
The IPL franchise recently removed head coach Brad Hodge recently. The news came in as a big surprise as the former Australian batsman was handed a contract for a period of three years. But after just one year in service, he was shown the door.
Hodge, who also coached Gujarat Lions earlier, was expected to bring in the stability in the side alongside Sehwag. Under the tutelage of Hodge, the side made a spectacular start to the IPL 11 season by winning five of their first seven games before an one-week break.
And post that things turned massively wrong. KXIP’s form derailed as the R Ashwin-led side managed just one win in the next seven games that they played. It resulted in them getting crashed out.
The side roped in former New Zealand coach Mike Hesson. He was seen doing television commentary during the IPL 2018 campaign. Perhaps, Hesson’s incoming resulted in the ouster of Sehwag. KXIP once again want a new direction and reports state that Hesson is likely to get some new faces to work alongside him.
Sehwag not even thanked by franchise
Kings XI Punjab’s Twitter handle hasn’t mentioned anything about Sehwag. Neither did the franchise thank the former player for his services. This in turn also shows that things didn’t end on a sweet note between the two parties.
A lot was expected out of this association, but unfortunately things went awry.
KXIP have failed in the IPL massively over the years. One team alongside Delhi Daredevils to have been the most inconsistent unit. The team’s last play-offs representation came in 2014, which highlights their poor run.
Sehwag will be keen to start afresh and it remains to be seen whether any other side ropes him in and gives him a role of any capacity.
As for KXIP is concerned, they will be eager to change fortunes under Hesson, who commanded respect from one and all. Hesson was appointed in 2012. He guided NZ to the final of 2015 World Cup. He helped them win 10 consecutive matches across all formats in 2015 and 2016-17. Notably, he saw the team beat England in a home Test series after 34 years.
During his stint, the Black Caps surged to number 1 in T20Is; besides number 2 in ODIs, and number 3 in Tests.