Neil Maxwell, the one-time chief executive officer of the Indian Premier League side Kings XI Punjab, has revealed how frantic things were ahead of KXIP’s inaugural IPL match, saying the team playing kits only reached the player after the toss of their maiden game.
KXIP’s playing kits were significantly delayed ahead of the first tournament in 2008, and team co-owner Preity Zinta was partly to blame for that. Maxwell revealed how the sponsors were finalised at 2am on the morning of the match, only after which the kits were sent for printing. It meant the delay reached a stage where the players were waiting in the change room after toss, still without their kits.
“I’m not exaggerating, Yuvraj Singh went out for the toss in a pair of shorts and a t-shirt,” Maxwell said in The Top Order podcast. “There was not a uniform in the ground during the bus ride. Of course, we lose the toss and we’re fielding. This is a 4pm game at the Mohali stadium. We’re playing Chennai Super Kings.
“Seriously, I was… a truck came flying through the front gates [of the stadium]. Players were in the changing room with nothing, and they’re about to walk out to the field!”
Maxwell’s desperation meant he assigned the help of a spectator to deliver the kits to the players on time. “I grabbed a spectator and said, ‘Help me with these!’ Ran with the boxes into the change room – the guy was just star struck, in the middle of the change room,” he said. “And we’re just throwing clothes around.
“I remember Brett Lee saying, ‘Preity, look it’s fine. We’ve just got to work out one thing’. She said, ‘What’s that?’ And he goes, ‘just got to work out how to get my arm over to bowl a ball!’”https://t.co/m13IamzMw8
— Wisden India (@WisdenIndia) June 9, 2020
“Of course, the shirts are put on, and they go down to the back of the knees of the players. They’ve used lettering for Sangakkara that was … half-size lettering rather than the two-inch version. The back-of-the-shirt sponsor was literally behind the knees of the players! I had to beg the players to wear their shirts out, because if you tuck them in, you don’t see their number.
“That was the stupidity of it all, but we got through it. We got through it, and it’s where it is today.”