Since its inception, the Indian Premier League (IPL) has often rubbed unknown names with stardust and turned them into overnight celebrities. Then there are those like Manpreet Gony, who have reached stratospheric heights and then come crashing down.
A little-known name till 2008, his 17-wicket haul in the opening edition for Chennai Super Kings saw the Punjab lad turn into a household name and even opened the gates of the national team for him.
But the journey has been bumpy after that for the 29-year-old medium fast bowler.
Now, after bouncing around a bit, he has returned home to the PCA Stadium in Mohali, and in his very first game for Kings XI Punjab, made the difference between defeat and victory.
"Everyone faces ups and downs in life and so is the case with me. I had a great first season but after that I could not maintain it,” Gony told Mail Today. "Now that I am in Punjab, it’s like playing for my home team. I have played here since childhood and know the PCA Stadium pitch like the back of my hand.” Gony is also satisfied with the new team set up, though the start for Punjab this season has not been special.
"We have Adam Gilchrist as captain and Darren Lehmann as our coach. They are a deadly combo and have even lifted the IPL in 2009. I hope the combination works wonders,” he said.
"The thing which I like most about them is their attitude towards players. They are always friendly to even the junior boys and keep us in good humour. It’s like a family.”
The Aussie combo might have a great track record but Kings XI Punjab’s performance has been rather dull. But Gony is confident of a change in fortunes.
"I agree that at times Punjab has been unlucky and the best performance was in 2008 when they reached the semi-finals.
We have some good players and our chance looks good this season,” he said.
Punjab has quite a few talented medium fast bowlers and Gony knows that keeping a place in the playing XI will be tough.
"We have some talented bowlers. (Azhar) Mahmood bhai was very effective last year. Then we also have Praveen Kumar. There’s also Parvinder Awana and Ryan Harris, so the competition is really tough,” he said.