Kings XI Punjab might be going through a horrendous time in the Indian Premier League this season but according to mentor Virender Sehwag there is a shining light at the end of the dark tunnel. Sehwag has been impressed with Murali Vijay's captaincy and said that the Tamil Nadu batsman indeed has the qualities required to lead the side.
"There is quality in Murali Vijay to lead the side. He is a very good cricketing brain," Sehwag said at a 92.7 Big FM's meet and greet session in Mumbai.
"He (Vijay) is a player who's played enough cricket to understand what is a captain's role, how one can motivate the players and what he can contribute for the team," the former Indian opener added.
Mid-way through the season, KXIP sacked South Africa batsman David Miller as the captain after five losses in first six matches and named Vijay as his successor. Miller wasn't performing with the bat too, having scored just 76 runs in six innings until then. Following Vijay's appointment, KXIP won two of their next three games. Sehwag said that handing over the captaincy reins to Vijay was the right decision as Miller was under pressure to perform dual roles - that of a leader and a batsman.
"We thought that Miller shouldn't be the captain and after that we won two games," Sehwag said.
"We took the decision in favour of the team. Because team was not doing well, Miller as a captain was under a lot of pressure, he wasn't performing as a batsman. So, we thought that if we give captaincy to someone else, then maybe Miller can play as a batsman, score runs and win the games. But everyone took it in a good way so nobody was complaining, not even Miller. As a sports staff, it was our responsibility to pick the right captain and I think Vijay was the right choice," Sehwag added.
Vijay, who himself was mediocre with the bat having scored just 143 runs from six innings at a strike-rate of 113.50, led from the front and scored a couple of fifties. Sehwag was of the opinion that the added responsibility helped the 32-year-old in his batting.
"He changed things around for KXIP and hopefully in coming games he can will do well. It gave him confidence too and he scored two fifties also," Sehwag said.
KXIP are currently languishing at the bottom of the table with seven losses from 10 games. The dismal performance has continued from last season and Sehwag, as always, was honest and straightforward in his analysis of the team so far.
"There is nothing new in KXIP's performance. It's just like last year - that time we were bottom of the table. This year too were are at the same position," Sehwag said with a shy smile.
"There was hope as there were quite a few close matches and if we had won that, right now we would have been at a slightly better position in the table. But I think we are going through a process, hopefully we can build a better team and churn out better performance next season," Sehwag added.
The 37-year old former India batsman said that he's trying his best to motivate the side and there are indeed a couple of bright spots in an otherwise dull campaign so far.
"In our team there are few youngsters like Manan Vohra, Gurkeerat Mann, Wriddhiman Saha, Axar Patel who are talented players with whom I spent a lot of time and tried to motivate them, and instill some of my qualities which might benefit them in some way or the other," Sehwag said.
"I guess, we've seen results in a couple of players like Saha who made good scores, Manan bagged a Man of the Match award. But we didn't convert them into consistent performances because of which we are at the bottom," he added.
Sehwag was hopeful that the team will end up on a positive note if the foreign players could finally fire.
"I hope we put on a good show in the rest four matches," Sehwag said.
"The four foreigners haven't fired but if the likes of - Maxwell, Amla and Miller get going then they can win us any match. So the upcoming four matches are exciting for us. If we want to perform well and if the foreigners fire then it would be very good for us," he signed off.
Updated Date: May 11, 2016 19:25 PM