By Kings XI Punjab captain Ravichandran Ashwin,

After a good start to our Indian Premier League campaign, we ran into troubled waters in the latter half which ultimately led to our elimination in the group stage. We fought hard, but things just didn’t come together for us when it mattered. That is all part and parcel of the game though and you expect to have some tough matches when it comes to such a big tournament like the IPL.

Our openers, KL (Lokesh Rahul) and Gayle (Chris) batted beautifully and had been scoring the bulk of the runs for us throughout the league. But you can’t really rely on one or two players in crunch games and the middle order really didn’t contribute a lot consistently which hurt us in the latter half of our campaign.

Shining Stars

But having said that, I believe we have a lot of positive to draw from this campaign. Rahul, for example, has been timing the ball as beautifully as I have ever seen anyone time it and was one of the bright sparks for our team. We also had the Purple Cap holder, Andrew Tye, in our team who looked one of the best bowlers in the league with the variety he brought to his bowling. The only problem for us was that we weren’t able to capitalise on the individual performances by giving good enough support.

Ankit Rajpoot was another bowler who really impressed me with the way he got the ball to swing in favourable conditions. He really put his hand up when the team needed him this season and he is definitely someone we are looking to continue our association with and take forward as we plan our next season.

Looking ahead

We are still a young team and we have a lot more to learn. We weren’t able to put ourselves in good positions to win games in the second half of the tournament, but we played good cricket. The important thing is that all of us get along and in the long run we have to build a good team culture as a new team. A bunch of players may win you a few games but a team which plays together will definitely do better in the long run. We are definitely a team that didn’t play to their potential this season, but we’ll try and improve so that we can do better next year.

It is very important that we get along and build a new culture because teams very few wins, but a good team culture will give you plenty of wins in the long run. We are a team that has really underperformed this season. So we’ll have to see how to take it forward next year.