New Delhi: Kings XI Punjab's flamboyant coach Virender Sehwag said that purchasing more Indian players for the upcoming Indian Premier League XI could be the vital cog in their title bid this season.
"In a tournament like IPL, role of quality Indian players is most important," said the former explosive batsman at the new-shirt unveilling press conference of his team. "This is something we lacked in the past; except for Axar Patel and Wriddhiman (Saha), we lacked regular Indian internationals.
"This time around we roped in four-five names who are extremely talented and represent India in various formats. I feel their presence would be a major boost for us in this year's IPL winning chances."
The Preity Zinta-co-owned-franchise has retained Axar, and extravagantly spent on signing names such as skipper Ravichandran Ashwin, KL Rahul, Yuvraj Singh, Karun Nair, who have all represented Men in Blue in the recent past.
Sehwag further added that this is probably the best team the Chandigarh-based franchise has acquired since the beginning of this domestic T20 league and hopes to win their maiden title with them.
"I think this is the best Kings XI side so far and we're looking for a remarkable performance in the IPL and a title glory. I am hopeful the money we spent on them will pay," said the 39-year-old commentator and coach.
The Kings XI managed acquistion of big hitters – in Chris Gayle and Yuvraj Singh (Rs 2 crore each) – at their base price during the IPL auction late January, which Sehwag believes to be smart buys.
"The price at which we got both of them is a bargain; they could have gone for a price as high as $1 milion. Yuvraj and Gayle are proven names of the game and if they managed to win us 2 or 3 of the entire 14 games, then they would worth every penny," he said.
Sehwag defended Ashwin's promotion as a skipper as he feels bowlers are the one who decides the game.
"Bowlers are the one who win you matches. If you managed to limit a team at a score lower than expected, then the whole credit goes to bowlers. Bowlers are always at their toes to outfox the batsman and having a bowler captain, who can chip in with more solutions to deal with a batsman, is better than having a batsman as captain, who doesn't understand that," explained the former all-rounder.
Ashwin, who was also present at the shirt unveling press conference, said he is excited about his new role as a skipper.
"I have captained Tamil Nadu before when I was just 20 years old (in 2007 after numerous players joined rebel-league) but I am yet to do that in a T20 match. I am more experienced as a player now and more equipped for the challenges as a skipper. I have played under numerous captains, that also includes Viru Paa ( Sehwag) and Yuvraj Singh, and I have learnt something from each of them.
"I am excited to captain Kings XI and chalk out strategy to outthink rival captains in the competition," said the 31-year-old right-arm orthodox bowler.
Ashwin once again clarified that he is not looking at IPL as a format to find himself a spot in international limited-over cricket scenario.
At the new-shirt unveilling conference, KXIP also anounced that Kent RO will occupy their place on the front of their Jersey this year.