RAJKOT: Instances of changes in captaincy midway into the IPL are not unheard of, but rare. Desperate situations force such moves and following defeat in five out of six, Kings XI Punjab have handed over the responsibility from David Miller to Murali Vijay.
Expressing confidence in the opener, Sanjay Bangar said as coach it was up to him to convey the unpleasant news to Miller. “David’s batting was suffering because of the extra responsibility. When someone isn’t comfortable, you do things to address it. So we decided to free him of that and I communicated the decision to him. He remains an integral part,” said Bangar who himself was sent back to India by KKR midway through the 2009 season held in South Africa.
A day before taking on table toppers Gujarat Lions, Bangar was drawing confidence from Vijay’s record as captain. “He led Tamil Nadu to two domestic titles in the past, T20 and one-dayers (in South Zone tournament). Although we didn’t see him in that role after that, he was keen to take up this challenge.” Vijay has made 143 in six innings so far. After making an impressive debut as IPL coach in 2014 when Kings XI finished runners-up, Bangar was soon rewarded with the job of India’s batting coach. While he continued in that role till WT20, Kings XI’s fortunes have changed. Bottom of the table in 2015, they are once again staring at that prospect.
“In success or failure, players expect the coach to be consistent in his ways. For me, preparation remains the same. But at times like this, it’s my responsibility to keep the team together,” said Bangar.
While Kings XI trained under lights at SCA Stadium on Saturday, Gujarat Lions returned to the city in the evening after beating Pune a day earlier. With a battery of in-form big hitters, they won’t make Vijay or Bangar’s job any easier.