Virender Sehwag had voiced his disappointment at the foreign contingent of Kings XI Punjab stating that the players did not take responsibility after the team lost early wickets against Pune. The former Indian opener criticized the Indian players as well for failing to deliver when it mattered.
In a "quarter final" clash where the winner was guaranteed a place in the playoffs, the entire Punjab team was rounded up for a mere 73 runs. The four overseas players, all batsmen, contributed just 14 runs to the score and were all back in the dressing room even before all the powerplay overs had been bowled as Punjab succumbed to a humiliating nine-wicket loss to Pune.
"I'm very disappointed. I can say that none of the foreign players took responsibility. At least one of the top-four batsmen should have batted for 12/15 overs, but none of the batsmen took the responsibility. I think they were complaining that the wicket was a bit slow but when you play international cricket so much, you should get used to playing on difficult or good wickets," Sehwag, said, reported TOI.
Punjab had looked to be out of the running for the playoff places a fortnight ago but the Maxwell-led team won four of their next five games, beating the likes of Mumbai and Kolkata along the way to put themselves in a one-match shootout against the Supergiant. However, when it mattered, the team crumbled under pressure as Pune not only booked a place in the playoffs but also secured a top-two place for themselves.
"There are very rare occasions when you get a good wicket to bat on, but whatever wicket you get, you have to play at least 20 overs for your side. But (Glenn) Maxwell, Shaun Marsh, (Martin) Guptill and (Eoin) Morgan (were all disappointing). The way we fought back against KKR and Mumbai, we had a good chance to play against Pune. But we didn't do well (here)," Sehwag added.
Sehwag, however, singled out his captain, Glenn Maxwell, for individual criticism questioning his performances in not just the final game but the entire tournament. Maxwell scored 310 runs in 14 matches while bagging 7 wickets as well but Sehwag said that being the leader of the team, more was expected from the hard-hitting Aussie.
"We always knew that when Maxwell fires, then he can win the match on his own. But he didn't fire in most games. That is a big disappointment, especially since he's experienced, having played for Australia's Test and ODI teams. He didn't take the responsibility as a captain and didn't perform for Kings XI Punjab," the 38-year-old explained.
"I think his (Guptill) role was to catch the powerplay and (Wriddhiman) Saha's was to just bat around with him. So, I don't mind him getting out on the first or second ball as long as he knows what he's doing. There's no point blaming him; I should rather blame the other batsmen. Players who got out had been informing the next batsman that it's a slow wicket and even then if you throw away wickets it means that you're not up for the game."
But it wasn't just the overseas batsmen that Sehwag vilified. He criticized the Indian contingent for their lack of consistency throughout the series as well. He singled out Hashim Amla as the only player who had shown any sort of consistency this season and added that the team missed that in the final run in.
"We missed Hashim Amla for sure. The kind of consistency he showed, none of the other players could do that, even the Indians couldn't take responsibility. Saha played one (good) innings, Manan Vohra played one innings but apart from that none of the others played responsibly. When you lose a batsman of that caliber, it's necessary for someone to step in and bat with responsibility," added Sehwag.