This is what IPL was all about from the beginning: Preity Zinta

Preity Zinta was all smiles on Sunday night as her team Kings XI Punjab schooled the Pune Warriors. This is the first time in six years that her boys won the first match at the IPL. Dressed, not in her team uniform, but in a smashing red dress, Preity made a pretty picture at the dug-out. She seemed happy, calm and strangely peaceful. The win brought the sparkle back into PZ’s eyes and the zing (her famous dimples) on her flushed face. The team owner talks about staying focused, away from superstitions and being friends with her ex…

Kings XI Punjab had a superb start against the Pune Warriors. You must be on a high…

It’s an awesome feeling! We never ever won our first match in the last six years! It feels really good because all that happened in the past, and is behind us now. I would like to say that this is what IPL was all about from the beginning. It was Indian talent shining.

Of course we have some amazing foreign players but it’s fantastic we have the best young Indian talents standing with these giants in cricket and performing! I hope this spirit gets carried forward. In our team Kings XI Punjab we have always encouraged and showcased the best of young talent like Shaun Marsh and Ravi Bopara who went on to make a double century in tests and bowler Parvinder Awana who is on the Indian cricket team today. We always encourage new boys in the team and I am so proud of them. It broke my heart that in the last couple of years we couldn’t make it to the semi finals. I want my boys to sparkle and shine and be the stars this year!

On Sunday, at what point did you feel that you would win the match?

I have been through this in the last six years and all I know — it ain’t over till the fat lady sings! Never make the mistake of assuming victory is yours and it’s going to happen. But on Sunday evening when we had about 40 balls, I knew there was a strong chance of winning.

Of course we had a small total to chase and our bowlers did a fabulous job. Gilly (Adam Gilchrist) just stood there and went Bam! Bam! at all the balls. What a star he is!
He is also one of the greatest cricketers and the humblest guy and a great leader. We are so lucky to have him. He is always pushing the team to give their best. And his 19-year-old partner Mandeep Singh’s play was one of the highlights of the game.

What do you attribute the success to? Is it because of the new coach?
Yes, definitely the new coach Darren Lehmann’s coming in has made a big difference. Also, for the first time our entire team is here. Even Shaun Marsh is expected to join us in a week. In our earlier IPL’s we always had a bunch of injuries and Azhar Mahmood had visa issues last year.

He joined us after four matches while Stuart Broad had major injuries. Now we have the full squad the way we want them here. It’s a very young team with some stars but we also have stalwarts like Hussy, Ryan Harris, Piyush Chawla, Gilly and Marshy so there’s a good blend of the young and the experienced. We just need team glue and a great leader, whom we already have, to hold it all together.

Who were the two little mascots with you on the field, cheering with you?
One was my nephew, Neil, who is my elder brother’s son and the little girl was Azhar Mahmood’s daughter Inaya. They were so cute doing the ‘Jumping Jhapak’ steps! I thought we would break the couch (laughs) I was very happy to have them sit with me. It’s good to sit with people who genuinely enjoy and participate in the game while watching it. .
Do you follow any superstitions during the matches?
This year, I had decided to ditch all superstitions… But for this match I kept standing through the match because every time I sat, a wicket fell. And when I stood, someone would hit it for a boundary so I got nervous. I tried every superstition in the book but nothing ever worked so I have stopped believing in them. My only policy today is: As long as the intent to win is clear and we stand together united as a team, we are fine.

This is the first time you wore a red dress on the pitch instead of the uniform….
When I came into the IPL I was known as an actress who had made this sudden detour towards cricket from films. People identified me with singing songs. I wanted to be one of the boys I wore the team uniform. It earned me respect and I became one of them. This year I have decided to just enjoy the IPL season.

There are no court cases or stress hanging over me. The boys are performing well. Let me have fun and wear what I want to! So you might see me wear something different at every match! Thank God I wore the hat though or my skin would have peeled. This year I am dressing only for myself! I was the first team owner to develop a familiarity with my team and be known as one of the boys.

Your team looks really focused. The bowling was superb, as was the batting and the fielding. What according to you is the team’s strength of the three?

Yes, it’s true we have an amazing bowling line-up, great batsmen and we saw some excellent fielding thanks to our fielding coach Mike Yung, who is a baseball coach from Australia. Gurkeerat’s catch today was a match winner! So we are good in all departments. I am happy that we are united today and all together and that’s our strength.

Everyone saw the warm hug you shared with Ness post the win. Forever putting to rest the rumours of awkwardness between you too. Comment.
These rumours are crazy. What’s the big deal about our hug? We have both been through a lot with this team and we just celebrated our first win after, in our first match, after six years so it was an exciting moment for all of us! Why can’t two grown up, mature individuals who have been in a relationship have a warm relationship? Why do we have to be cold or rude or mean? Ness and I were thrilled so we hugged each other.

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One Response to This is what IPL was all about from the beginning: Preity Zinta

  1. jahan says:

    we only know that one thing , which is we love preity zinta too munch. we don’t worry abt any thing.

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