Grooming players also a responsibility: Ness Wadia

Acquiring established cricketers is perhaps the easiest way but grooming players is part of Kings XI Punjab’s larger commitment to the game, it’s co-promoter Ness Wadia said on Saturday.

The IPL outfit will conduct a two-day open trial at Mohali from Monday and Wadia sees it as part of the outfit’s larger commitment to the game.

“It’s out commitment to nurture talent at the grass-root level. As an IPL franchisee, I think our job is not only to acquire players, but also to identify and groom them,” Wadia said from Mumbai.

The Mohali-based team recently conducted the Kings XI Punjab Cup where close to 20 youngsters were identified. The shortlisted candidates from the open trial would join them at the KXIP Academy where they would hone their skill.

Another official of the IPL outfit felt the open trial could be life-defining moment for a youngster.

“(KXIP coach) Tom Moody is an extremely experienced man, who is assisted by a set of professional people. The youngsters would have a direct access to these world class coaches which would definitely make them much better player,” the official said.

Looking at this year’s IPL, Wadia, meanwhile, oozed confidence that the team would do better than its semi-final appearance last year.

“This year, things look much better. We are more organised and I think the whole nation is eagerly waiting for IPL,” he said.

KXIP are likely to miss Brett Lee’s service in the first half of IPL as the Australian spearhead continues to recuperate from an ankle surgery.

The team bid for Bangladesh left-arm bowler Mashrafe Mortaza in the February 6 auction but Kolkata Knight Riders pipped them to the post.

Wadia, however, insists they still have a balance attack. “I think it’s not a weakened attack. I think we have some quality bowlers in the ranks and we are hoping that Brett would be available for most of the matches,” he said.

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