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Credit goes to the players:Sanjay Bangar, head coach of Kings XI Punjab


Sanjay Bangar. Photo - BCCI

Dubai: In modern day cricket, Sanjay Bangar may not be a name that immediately rings a bell, especially on the Twenty20 circuit. Bangar is the former India all-rounder who played 12 Tests and 15 One-Day Internationals and, to make his career more high-flying, he is now the coach of Kings XI Punjab, the table-toppers of 2014 Pepsi Indian Premier League.

The 41-year-old Bangar is a low-profile coach who now stands tall among a cluster of big names that include Gary Kirsten (Delhi Daredevils), John Wright (Mumbai Indians), Stephen Fleming (Chennai Super Kings), Daniel Vettori (Royal Challengers Bangalore) and Trevor Bayliss (Kolkata Knight Riders).

With his team winning the first four games in a row and coming to top the points table after they ended up at bottom places in the last six editions of IPL, the first thing the Punjab fans may want to ask him is "where were you hiding all this while, Mr. Bangar?"

Speaking to Times Sport, the soft-spoken Bangar said he wants to credit his players for the brilliant run in this IPL.

"I didn't go out there and play, so I think the boys have done exceptionally well in this tournament so far. They need to be given the credit for that achievement and not me," he said with a smile.

Punjab's first three matches belonged to their superman, Glenn Maxwell, whose outstanding knocks of 95, 89 and 95 saw them rowing home with ease but their fourth match belonged to the bowlers who came and defended a modest total of 132 runs against Kolkata Knight Riders.

"You know we are totally satisfied with the way our team is performing at the moment. We couldn't have asked for more. This has been a complete team effort," Bangar said.

It is worth nothing that Punjab made a cautious purchase with their purse at the auction held in February when they bought million-dollar worth  Maxwell, fast bowler Mitchell Johnson and India's star batsman Virender Sehwag as they looked for turnaround.  "Frankly, most of the teams wanted to go for these two players. They are such big names in the international arena. We had over Rs430.5 million at our disposal to make a move for these two players and we got them," Bangar explained.

Maxwell who was featured in the Mumbai Indians camp last year could only play three games before Punjab bought him at the auction for this season.

When asked if Mumbai would be regretting that decision, Bangar had this to say: "I think they couldn't get the players they wanted due to the dynamics of the auction. I am sure they wanted to keep both Maxwell and Johnson. It was all about a consistent purse that determines which player you want to buy and I think we were lucky enough in that aspect and bagged these two biggies."

Speaking about his coaching staff, Bangar said the absence of some of the key support staff gave him the space to rebuild the entire side. "That was a huge responsibility imposed on me. As you know, Adam Gilchrist didn't want to continue either as a player or as a coach and Darren Lehmann had other commitments.

"So it was left to me to take up the team. It was tough initially but then with these players, it is easy to work. We are having the best of our times here. Hope it continues to be like that and, as I said, the credit of winning is not for me but for the players," he added.

To get in touch with the reporter: nishad@timesofoman.com

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