Homecoming for Mandeep Singh
Once awarded the 'Rising Star of the Year' for KXIP in IPL 2012, Mandeep Singh is back to where he belongs.
Having played for Kings XI Punjab for four seasons, Mandeep Singh finds his way back to the squad ready for the 2019 Indian Premier League.
"Feels great to be back," he says. "You can say that I'm back home and obviously it's a great feeling to be playing for Punjab again because it's my home side. So, there's a feeling of pride."
Having missed the feeling for playing for Punjab in the IPL, his traits will fit right in with fellow Punjabis Yuvraj Singh and Barinder Sran.
"Obviously, they are both from Punjab so I'm close to both of them," he points out. "Both are like brothers.
"Punjabi bande are usually fierce and I think it will definitely help the team," he adds. "I think in the last edition there weren't a lot of Punjabis in the team, so I think it will be great that I have arrived."
And it's this flavour that he intends to imbibe in the team as well. Named as the 'Rising Star of the Year' in 2012, it's one of the best memories the right-handed batsman has from the IPL among others.
"Obviously Kings XI gave me the opportunity to play in the IPL and they really showed trust in me and I had a very good season," he recalls. "I remember David Miller and I started off playing well in the IPL from Kings XI only. We were on the rising together and achieved together as well.
"Then there's Chris Gayle. I have played lot of cricket with KL Rahul, from my childhood days for that matter. So, it doesn't really feel like I have changed teams.
Team comes first
For Mandeep, the shift has come right after he was awarded the captaincy of Punjab in the upcoming Ranji Trophy and he intends to bring the elements of his learnings at KXIP.
"If you are playing in any format, even if it's in the Ranji Trophy, we should always put the team first," he says. "And you should play as the team demands it. As the captain of the Punjab domestic team, I tell the players that if they get out, then it's very important that you contribute on the field as well, as much as you can. A lot of guys don't realise this. It's important to be a good team man first and then play as an individual."
With a rock-solid top order, KXIP will be hoping Mandeep’s fluent batting adds to their middle order in the upcoming season.