Ravichandran Ashwin the top spinner will lead an IPL team for the first time in the tournament’s history. The bowler has not captained any international side so far, but he has lead Tamil Nadu in several seasons. He will lead Kings XI Punjab being selected as the captain of the team. Ashwin’s innovations and unorthodox fielding strategy as a captain have gained much accolades before. The bowler is in contract with the franchisee for INR 7.6 Crores. This is also the first season Ashwin will play from Kings XI. Earlier from 2009 to 2015, the spinner played for Chennai Super Kings. In 2016 season, he was with Rising Pune Supergiant and in the following season he could not participate due to injury.
Ashwin was the top Test bowler in ICC ranking and has been leading the specific field for India Test team. However, he has not played an ODI or T20I for several months being replaced in the team. Earlier, the bowler disclosed that he would play with a different skill set in this IPL season. Breaking away from his regular form as an off-spinner, he would bowl leg spin as well. In pervious seasons, Ashwin has been playing under the leadership of MS Dhoni, since his maiden season in the tournament. His captainship is backed strongly by Virender Sehwag, team director of Kings XI Punjab.
The 31 years old bowler said captaincy is his ‘natural progression’ in the tournament after playing top-level cricket for many seasons. He recalled, when identified as a captain at the age of 21 by WV Raman, he won several titles for Tamil Nadu. He said, it is “fascinating” that being a captain as a bowler is ‘not something natural’ in the country. Ashwin also pose the advantages of captainship as a bowler. He is able to understand other bowlers and fielding positions very well.
On the other hand, team director Sehwag disclosed that he always wanted a bowler to lead Kings XI as he is a “big fan” of Wasim Akram, Waqar Younis and Kapil Dev. He revealed that a lot of votes went to Ashwin to be the captain from support staff and owners of the team.