With the Auction for the 2019 Indian Premier League just a few days away, we sat with our coach Mike Hesson to get his thoughts. While holding his cards close to his chest, the New Zealander sets the expectations straight ahead of the event.
Q. Kings XI Punjab released several players and retained some ahead of the Auction. What was the thinking behind the decision?
Mike Hesson: Releasing players was a difficult thing to do. But we had a number of factors to consider. To see value in the next 12 months. Then, with the overseas players you needed to consider their availability with the World Cup in mind and also other international commitments. So, there are a lot of things to consider. The retained list of Kings XI Punjab, really happy with it! They are a good core of players, of which we know we need to build some balanced players around.
Q. So, what sort of players are you looking to rope in as a strategy for the auction?
Mike Hesson: When we are looking for players to purchase from the Kings XI Punjab squad, we are looking at having a balance. So, sure we need youth, some excitement and some enthusiasm, and we certainly need some players who are quite precocious and talented. And we need to mix that with some decision-makers, some really clear-thinkers around when the game's on the line, you want to make sure you have got some experience in those key positions. So, we are certainly looking for some balance in the auction.
Q. Will you be looking to fill up the squad entirely or keep it to the minimum number of players?
Mike Hesson: Look, it's all about balance. So, we have got to look at with international commitments, when players might leave, availability, obviously covering for injuries so we'll be above the minimum number certainly. But will we get up towards the maximum? Time will tell... but probably somewhere around the middle.
Q. Do you have your eyes set on any recently released players?
Mike Hesson: Yeah, of course we do! We got our eyes on a number of players. Certainly some released, and certainly some new players. But it wouldn't be appropriate to share in those names at this time. But, yeah there are a few.
Q. What if you don’t get a player you were looking forward to having on the team? How will that affect KXIP?
Mike Hesson: I guess the reality of any auction is that you're not always going to get every player that you want. So key for us is that in every role, we have got a pecking order of the types of player that we want. Therefore, we obviously got an amount of money that we are willing to spend in the imperative time. Look, we'll make sure we have got alternatives if we don't get the ones that we want.