Surprising reports have emerged that Indian Premier League franchise Kings XI Punjab are looking to trade their skipper Ravichandran Ashwin before the start of the 13th season of the IPL next year. KXIP made a major overhaul to their side in 2018 by appointing Ashwin to lead the side and also brought in new signings as well, however, the Punjab based franchise are now looking to offload their captain.
According to a report by Mumbai Mirror, the Chennai cricketer will not only be stripped of his captaincy, but would be dropped altogether from the unit. Kings XI Punjab have been the perennial underachievers along with Royal Challengers Bangalore and Delhi Capitals. KXIP once again could not make it to the playoffs despite a solid start to the season and finished sixth.
Ashwin, who is currently a part of India's Test squad for the West Indies series, could not find a place in the XI despite holding an impressive record against the side.
However, all is not lost for Ashwin as the report stated that KXIP are in talks with two other IPL franchises for a deal to trade the off-spinner. It was further revealed that Delhi Capitals are the front-runners to land the 32-year old while Rajasthan Royals have also expressed their interest in the off-spinner.
With KXIP last season, Ashwin managed to lead his side to only six wins out of 14 matches played, which could be the talking point. As a bowler, Ashwin had a decent show in the 12th edition of the league, but as a captain, his decisions have been questioned sometimes.
If Ashwin parts ways with the franchise, names such as KL Rahul, Mayank Agarwal and Karun Nair have emerged for the role of captain for the new season. Also, KXIP are without a coach as Mike Hesson had earlier stepped down before being appointed as Director of Cricket Operations of Royal Challengers Bangalore.
It is learnt that a decision is likely to be made in the upcoming days.
Earlier, Sunil Gavaskar was shocked with the management's decision to leave out Ashwin for the first Test of the two-match series against West Indies. Team India Test vice-captain Ajinkya Rahane explained why the off-spinner was not considered for selection in the XI.
“It’s difficult when you miss a player like Ashwin but team management is always thinking as to what is the best combination. They thought Jadeja was a good option on this wicket as we needed a sixth batsman, who can bowl. Vihari can bowl on this track. So that was the communication between captain and coach,” the batsman said.
“It is hard to find players like Ashwin and Rohit (Sharma) sit out but’s all for the team,” Rahane he added.