Kings XI Punjab struck a fruitful player-cash trade deal that sees Indian spin ace Ravichandran Ashwin join Delhi Capitals ahead of the 2020 VIVO Indian Premier League, ending an association that lasted for two seasons.
Having joined the team for the tenth season of the IPL early last year, Ashwin led the Punjab team for two campaigns, ensuring they were in the hunt for the playoffs in both editions until their very last league match.
He leaves behind some memorable moments both on and off the field, a young-yet-talented squad and a legacy of being a thoughtful and calculative captain.
"It was important for Ravichandran Ashwin to be a part of Kings XI Punjab but it's now time to look towards the next step," the recently-appointed Director of Cricket Operations and Head Coach Anil Kumble said. "We will look at strengthening the squad at the auction to ensure that we have a well-balanced team as we enter the new IPL season."
"We thank him for his contribution to the team over the last two years and wish him well in his future endeavours," Kumble added, who had hailed the offie as India's 'premier spinner' and an asset as an all-rounder.
No decision has yet been made on who would replace Ashwin as skipper, with the discussions for the role currently ongoing.
"It has been a wonderful journey with Kings XI Punjab," Ravichandran Ashwin said. "I will always look back fondly at the two years I spent with the Kings and will miss all my teammates. I am looking ahead to new challenges.
"I would also like to thank the fans for their endless support over the two years, it was incredible to see them come out and support their team," he added.
He played 28 matches in his two seasons and led the team to 12 victories. In that tenure, the off-spinner took 25 wickets, with a best bowling of 3/23, and scored 144 runs that included his IPL highest score of 45. He also bagged one player of the match award for his all-round performance against Rajasthan Royals.
"Ravichandran Ashwin was committed to serving for Kings XI Punjab during his two seasons and made sure he laid down a foundation for a better future," KXIP CEO Satish Menon pointed out. "He has been instrumental for the presence of not only some of our key players in the squad but has also helped in grooming some of the stars of the future, particularly in the last season.
"We would like to thank him for his dedication and giving it his best," he added.
The deal also sees Delhi Capitals' Jagadeesha Suchith join the Punjab squad. The Mysore-born 25-year-old spinner has played in 15 IPL matches, one for Delhi and 14 for Mumbai Indians, and has picked up 12 wickets.
Suchith plays for Karnataka in the domestic circuit and has played 13 First-Class matches, 17 List A games and made 44 T20 appearances so far.