After their crushing defeat against Rajasthan Royals at home on Thursday, Kings XI Punjab are in a do-or-die situation. A defeat in any of their remaining four Pepsi IPL matches can quash their play-off hopes.
In a situation like this when even their loyal fans can be nervous, team coowner Ness Wadia looks calm. Not because he doesn’t care about the results, but because he believes in the potential of the youngsters.
Wadia also feels that the team might be running against time, but the race is not over and that the Kings XI Punjab can still turn the fortunes around.
He said that the team was a bit unlucky in a couple of early matches, but can still regain the winning momentum. “The team has overall played well. There were a couple of close matches, especially against Chennai and Mumbai, in which we lost in the last overs,” Wadia told MAIL TODAY. “Had we won any of them, our story would have been different. But that’s past; we still have matches to play and don’t want to get disappointed. We now have most of our matches either in Mohali or Dharamshala and we have a good record at home.” Year after year, Punjab have heavily depended on the foreign players while the local players have miserably misfired this season.
While the likes of David Miller, David Hussey and Shaun Marsh, have topped the Punjab’s batting charts, locals like Mandeep Singh, Gurkeerat Singh and Manan Vohra haven’t made much of the opportunities. However, the local bowlers have shone, like Praveen Kumar, Parvinder Awana and Manpreet Gony have been in-form.
Wadia, however, bats for the locals.
“Our aim is to give maximum exposure to local youngsters and players like Mandeep have repaid faith. It’s also true that the foreign players in our side have also done extremely well. But, we feel that our youngsters have the potential to win matches,” he said.
Also read: Comprehensive win for Rajasthan over Punjab
The team’s financial returns in the market are a reflection of its modest on-field performance. KPH Dream Cricket, the owner of the Kings XI Punjab, showed the company suffered a loss of Rs 1.52 crore in the financial year 2011-12.
Wadia, however, insists the overwhelming support of Punjab fans shows the team brand is growing.
“Look at the crowds. Stadiums are full in all the matches. It shows that our team’s supporters have full faith in us and wants to associate with it.” Next year there will be fresh player auction and teams are likely to undergo an overhaul. Does he have similar plans? “ As of now, we don’t know what will be the format like, and how much money a team can spend. So, it’s too premature to say what changes we are looking at next year. We just want to do the best in our interest,” Wadia said.