Kings XI Punjab captain George Bailey doled out a whole-hearted appreciation for a number of Indian players and coaching staff, who he says were vital in his team's grand success in the just concluded seventh edition of the Indian Premier League. (Kolkata Knight Riders vs Kings XI Punjab IPL Final: As It Happened)
Punjab made their first ever final since the inception of the T20 league in 2008 under Bailey and ended runners-up to Kolkata Knight Riders. (KKR Celebration pics)
Bailey mentioned contributions made by Wriddhiman Saha, opener Manan Vohra, coach Sanjay Bangar, fielding coach R Sridhar and young all-rounder Akshar Patel.
Talking about coach Bangar, Bailey said, "Everything that you see and like about Kings XI starts with Sanjay Bangar. He has been just fantastic with managing not only Indian players but also overseas players."
"His knowledge of the game is wonderful and has the ability to draw younger players out of their shells to play.
The way he has managed the overseas players. He has just been fantastic. He has had some great support from Joe Dawes and Sridhar, our fielding coach, but he has certainly been a high quality coach, I have been really impressed. It has been a pleasure to work with him, absolutely," he added.
The Australian batsman was effusive in his praise for Akshar Patel.
"He (Patel) is such an impressive package. Right from the first day, the knowledge of his own game and the awareness of his own game that he has for a 20-year-old is phenomenal. The calmness that he has, the poise that he has in big games," Bailey told reporters after losing the final last night.
"He was bowling our key overs, he was our real go-to bowler. Wonderful fielder. I think he is going to have a long and very successful career," the Australian added.
"This is a wonderful group of people, most importantly, and Sanjay is the leader of that, he is the head of that," Bailey said.
Talking about "unheralded" Wriddhiman Saha, who smashed a century in the final, Bailey said he stood like a rock. (Scorecard)
"Wriddhi's innings in a lot of way summed up our tournament. He is probably a guy who is unheralded a little bit, probably underrated in a lot of circles but for us, he has just been solid as a rock," he said.
"He has done different jobs at different times, he has been a wonderful person on and off the field, so to see him perform well was fantastic."