Lol! A perfect prank by @virendersehwag 😋 #AprilFoolsDay #LivePunjabiPlayPunjabi #KXIP #KingsXIPunjab #VivoIPL— Kings XI Punjab (@lionsdenkxip) April 1, 2018
Keep supporting the Kings at the #ISBindraStadium & book your tickets ➡ https://t.co/hMidVMPMwg pic.twitter.com/RhKxW9BRY5
Kings XI Punjab fans are in for a real treat in the team’s first match against Delhi Daredevils at Mohali on April 8 as they will get another glimpse of batting legend Virender Sehwag in action, if only for one match.
Sehwag will come out of retirement and will open the innings in the absence of Aaron Finch. The decision, which was taken at the team preparatory camp in Mohali after a long deliberation by captain Ravichandran Ashwin, coach Brad Hodge, Director of Cricket Operations Virender Sehwag himself and the team management.
The ‘Nawab of Najafgarh’, who showed fine form in the recent Ice Cricket matches in St Moritz by scoring 62 off 31 in the first match and 46 off 22 balls in the second, reached the decision after practising in the nets with some of the current Kings XI Punjab team players.
Hathiyar chhode hain ,chalana nahi bhoole hain :) Great fun on the ice. pic.twitter.com/V1bjFATGnI— Virender Sehwag (@virendersehwag) February 8, 2018
“Initially it was just for giving the young boys some bowling practice. But I was seeing the ball really well and was able to play my strokes comfortably,” Sehwag told kxip.in. “So when the question of who will open in the first match in Finch’s absence came up and Brad jokingly said my name I really started thinking about it.”
Sehwag, who was playing in the Indian Premier League till as late as the 2015 season, replied in his trademark cheerful manner when asked if he’d feel any pressure facing his former IPL team and ex-opening partner Gautam Gambhir.
“Delhi was my karmabhoomi for a few seasons when I was a player, but my loyalties lie with Kings XI Punjab now. And when it comes to Gauti, his name itself is so serious that maybe watching me bat again will bring a smile to his face,” Sehwag laughed.
Ever since Finch announced his unavailability in Punjab’s opening encounter owing to his marriage, the team has been pondering over the right top order combination. As a result, the big-hitting Viru-paaji was finally asked to step up to the plate, and he obliged.
“There were a number of names thrown up but somehow the team combination wasn’t coming together,” Hodge explained. “But watching Sehwag bat in the nets gave me the idea of trying him in the opening match. We discussed this during the camp and he was more than happy to take the field once again.”
Team CEO Satish Menon was overjoyed with the decision.
“Virender Sehwag has been the backbone of our team for a number of years and has proved what a team player he is,” Menon remarked. “As usual, Viru has found us a way out. Fans will get to watch him in action at the IPL one last time and as a cricket fan myself I couldn’t be more delighted.”
UPDATE: Whoops, April Fool's! Sorry sheron, as much as we would like to see Viru-paaji take the field for us again, it isn't really happening. This was just a little prank that the Fun-jabi side of us couldn't resist. Hope we haven't ruffled too many feathers. Peace! 🤗