Mohali: India cricketer Cheteshwar Pujara, who is appearing for Kings XI Punjab in the Indian Premier League 2014, credited the team's success this season to the purchases made by the team management in the players auctions in February.
Punjab has seen a classic revival this IPL season with players like Glenn Maxwell (530 runs) making a good impact so far. Pujara has credited the team's success to 'smart buys' by the team management in the February auctions.
"The important thing was the auction, the way the team was picked before the IPL started. We had a very good team on paper and after that, I think it's the team combination and talent of the players; they played to their potential and I think the team has got together. We have got very good support, the entire team is gelling together and we are playing to our strength," said Pujara.
After wearing KKR and then RCB colours, the Rajkot-born Pujara said that now he loves the Chandigarh connect. "It's a great feeling, I have been to Chandigarh, I love being to Chandigarh and overall playing for Kings XI Punjab; it's a great feeling. We are doing very well and hope our fans keep supporting us and we will surely lift the title," he said.
He also said that winning a game in Mohali means something special for the team. "It is special. People in Punjab are supporting us and we are trying to live up to the expectations with the way we have performed in the UAE leg and now in India," he said.
Another Kings XI batsman, Mandeep Singh, who feels IPL is the best platform for making a mark at the international level, said the team has the right balance.
"This is the best platform, if you have to play for India, you get to learn a lot here. Cheteshwar plays in Test matches, I take tips from him and other senior players and coaches. Then there are foreign players who are playing in the IPL, we get to know a lot about how they play and the diet they eat.
"Even the fielding standards of our team has improved as we learn from others," Mandeep said.
Punjab bowling coach Joe Dawes was all praise for young crop of bowlers like Sandeep Sharma. "Sandeep is good. He has drawn a lot of attention. As an overall bowling unit, KXIP has done good," he said.
KXIP's fielding coach R Shridhar was pleased with the players for the standards they have set. "I think the current crop of youngsters and even the seniors take their fielding seriously because it has become very important part of the cricketing skills. In this format sometimes only a few runs separate the winning and the losing team, so fielding is important," he said.