By Hindustan Times
On Sunday Preity Zinta laid to rest speculations that she is bailing out of IPL season five by turning up at the Sahara Stadium in Pune in the team’s colours. The dimples flashed even when Kings XI Punjab surrendered tamely to Sourav Ganguly’s Pune Warriors. “I’m not a quitter!” the actor
asserts. “This has been my baby since its inception and I’d only bail out if things went terribly wrong.”
A lot has gone wrong for the Mohali-based franchise in the last year. Following the controversy between the BCCI and Lalit Modi, Kings XI Punjab and Rajasthan Royals were expelled from the league over financial irregularities. The owners moved court and got a stay on the injunction, whereby they were allowed to take part in the auction and play by providing a security of $18 million. But Kings XI Punjab still owes players about Rs28 crore for Season four and in a High Court petition against the BCCI, has given an undertaking that it will pay as soon as the BCCI clears its dues of Rs22 crore from Season three.
“It’s been tedious and heart-wrenching. The dialogue with BCCI continues. At the auction, the economics changed and we started out at a disadvantage since we had to pay double,” she sighs. “We couldn’t bid for a dozen extra players, but we got the ones we wanted. For us it’s not so much about buying players as building a team. We have young talent and despite some unforeseen injuries, we’re hoping they come together under Gilly (captain Adam Gilchrist).”
Pointing out that in the past, teams strong on paper have been out-played by those without stars, as she reasons that T20 is about great leadership and synergy. “Gilly is a terrific team player and I have my hopes pinned on him. This is a crucial year for us,” admits Preity.
Her former captain, Yuvraj Singh, has just returned home after successfully battling cancer. She says, “Yuvi is a fighter and I hope to see him return to the field soon.”
Will we see her on the field too? She admits she won’t be there for all the games now that she’s acting and producing a film, Ishkq In Paris. “I didn’t expect my film to clash with the IPL, but we have a big schedule in India in about 10 days. There are a couple of other surprises in store,” she says. “After three-and-a-half years of saying I don’t do shows, I went on stage on Sunday. There’s lots happening, I’m back to doing everything.”