“I don’t want the best team on paper, I want the best team on field” – Preity Zinta

To start with, Preity, your twitter id says that you are ‘Actress, Producer, Writer, Entrepreneur, UNAIDS Goodwill Ambassador and Cricket fan’. Is there anything else that is yet to be added to the list?
Yes. And it’s F-I-G-H-T-E-R! (Smiles)

It’s been quite some time that your fans and our readers heard about you, from you. Was the lying low and off- press intentional?
Yes, my lying low was intentional. Come to think of it, ever since the time I got into movies till date, I have never been a ‘media person’ or somebody who talks a lot to the media. But at a time when I was having 3- 4 releases a year, there were lot of interactions with the media. But once I got into cricket, and that too, only if there was something to talk about, I was talking (to the media), not otherwise. But, now I figured that if one is not available (to the media) for commenting/ quote for a small thing, then even the simplest of the things can snowball into a big story!

What’s keeping you busy on the professional front these days?
Besides the IPL, I have two films on which I am working on. Plus… I am also working an exciting new venture which is keeping me really busy these days. This is a very creative venture about which I will tell you all very shortly!

There were strong rumors floating around that you sold off a major chunk of KXIP’s (Kings XI Punjab) stake. Can you clarify this so that the rumors can be put to rest forever?
As you said, these rumors have always been rumors with no truth in them whatsoever! Let’s all understand the fact that whenever anybody does a sale (in IPL), they have to write a letter to the BCCI to approve the same. And then, 5% of the income has to be given to the BCCI, as a part of the sale. And once that happens, a new share holding pattern is created and new shareholders are formed. So, till the time the abovementioned things are not happening in the said fashion, these rumors will always be rumors! (Laughs). Also, if anything of that sort does happen, it will has in all transparency minus any shady deals.

Do such rumors affect you? How do you deal with it?
Initially, I used to laugh it off. But I have started getting a feeling that India is turning into a greatest banana republic.

What’s the strategy that KXIP have adopted for this season of IPL?
The strategy has been the same as every year… of winning the cup! (Smiles). This year, besides all the other things that we have planned, we also have the incredibly talented Sanjay Bangar joining our team as the coach. It’s also the first time in the history that we have an Indian on board at that level. In our games, what we observed was that that the middle order needed strength and that there had to be a balance between the youngsters and the experienced players. As a part of the strategy, these things have been taken care of this year. Besides everything else, I am very excited to have Veeru (Virendra Sehwag) in our team. He is a very simple and sweet guy off field, but a really destructive player on the field. And for all those who had something to say about his selection, all that I want to say is that ‘Form is temporary, class is permanent’.

Before stepping into the auction room, did you have any personal wish list? How many of the players actually made it to your team from your wish list?
Almost 80 percent names from my wish list made it in my team! I am so happy for all of them (smiles).

Looking back in the last season of IPL, how did you react when the news of the players’ illegal activities first reached your ears?
I was just not happy about it. The players have to understand that, in such a situation, there are two losers. The first ones are the fans who have invested their emotions in you and that way, they also become the emotional share holders of your team. And secondly, it’s the players themselves who have a black mark on their career forever.

What punishment would you like to gives such tainted players?
I just do not want the guilty to be returning back as match commentators after 10-15 years. I strongly feel that once the tainted player is out (of the game), should mean that he should be out forever!

Is it true that the IPL teams may lose 40% of revenues if the matches are partly shifted to South Africa, due to Lok Sabha elections? If that happens, what will be your team’s next move?
The BCCI has been very good with us. We are in the process of working out a package with them, which states that if ‘X’ amount of revenue is going to be hit, then, maybe that shortfall will be taken care of by the BCCI, looking at our current and previous endorsement contracts. I have seen that everybody whips the BCCI every time for everything. But the fact remains that it’s not their fault that the elections are happening this year, neither it’s ours.

Will you vote this year amidst the tension filled IPL matches?
To be honest, as much as I love cricket, I think elections are also important in our country as they are going to determine the next five years. I also want to do a campaign urging the people not to sell their votes as selling their votes for that one week will take away five years of their life and future.

Is it true that Yuvraj Singh recommended Sanjay Bangar’s name to you?
I had spoken to Yuvraj Singh sometime ago about my team’s coach, when he told me to try out an Indian coach. In the same breath, she told me about Sanjay Bangar. And that is what set the ball rolling. In that sense, I should thank Yuvi for Sanjay Bangar.

Do you feel that the equation of ‘Piyush Chawla’s loss = Murali Kartik’s gain’ will work in the favour of KXIP?
I am feeling sad about losing Piyush. I was sad emotionally to let him go, as he was one of my favorite players and that he had been with us from year one. He went for a price which was higher for us. Having said that let me also tell you that Murali is a very talented guy and someone whom we are really looking forward to.

This year, everyone has only been talking about KXIP and its prized possession in the form of its team members. With so much going in your favour, do you feel that this time round KXIP will bring home the much coveted IPL trophy?
While everyone says that ours is the best team on paper, all that I want to tell is that I don’t want the best team on the paper, I want the best team on the field! (Laughs). Having said that, we will surely be putting our heart and soul in every match we play to win the cup.

With so much on your plate professionally now, is marriage on the cards or there is still time?
Marriage is definitely on the cards! I am not even denying that there is somebody in my life. I will surely let you guys know when I decide upon marriage. Besides that, on a professional front, there is something so very interesting happening in my life, which I will surely let you all know.

So, how long will you take to announce that?
Maximum 2-3 months!

Preity, do you mean that you will be directly announcing the marriage in 2-3 months!
(Shocked and surprised) OH GOD! You were asking about marriage! (Laughs). I thought that you were asking about my business venture’s announcement! (Laughs).

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