Kings XI Punjab management made the tough decision to relieve the bewildered David Miller of the captaincy and decided to appoint Murali Vijay in his place. Kings XI have found it difficult to break a losing stream and the poor form of David Miller did not help them at all as it appeared that the captaincy was taking a toll on the hard hitting batsman.
While this isn’t the first time a captain has been sacked in the middle of the IPL, it is still a difficult pill to swallow but reports suggested that Miller being the team man that he is, took it in good spirit.
In a statement, coach Sanjay Bangar said “He is an integral part of the team. IPL is such a format where the best of players sometimes sit out. It is not the first instance where midway through the season there has been a change in captaincy. I think eight or nine times in the past captains have been changed. Basically, we’re looking to turn things around and it is a step in that direction,”
Vijay led the Kings XI for the first time on May 1 against the in-form Gujarat Lions and led from the front with a fighting half century. Miller and Saha chipped in with 30’s to take the Kings XI to 154.
The score appeared below par before the start of the Gujarat Lions innings as Dwayne Smith and Brendon McCullum have been in devastating form. However with the early dismissals of both Smith and McCullum, Kings XI appeared to have tilted things in their favour. Mohit Sharma took three wickets while Australian Matt Stonis sent down four economical overs for just 23 runs.
However it was left arm spinner Axar Patel who took his first hat-trick in the IPL after running through the Lions middle order taking the wickets of Karthik, Jadeja and Bravo to give the Lions a stiff chase. The Lions only hope rested on James Faulkner who made 32 but was unable to clear the boundary at will and in the end holed out to Miller, giving the Kings XI a much needed win and a good start for new captain Vijay.
Kings XI will be concerned with the form of Glenn Maxwell who failed yet again and got out for a duck. Kings XI have depended on a strategy of saving their heavy hitters for the final overs but might want to change that and push them up the order. Getting Vijay to open with Shaun Marsh will give them the right-left hander combination and bringing Maxwell at 3, will give him time to play himself in and find form. The lower order can then rely on the likes of Miller and Stonis to go for the big hits in the end.