Kings XI Punjab's star batsman Yuvraj Singh and franchise owner Preity Zinta have reacted strongly to media reports that the batsman had been deliberately underperforming after losing the captaincy to Kumar Sangakkara.
Yuvraj has had a lean trot in the tournament so far, scoring just 101 runs in seven games at 14.42. His performance has mirrored his team's woeful showing, with just one win from seven games and a semi-final slot looking extremely unlikely. That has led to speculation that the poor form was due to an alleged rift between him and Sangakkara. An upset Yuvraj vented his feelings on his Twitter page.
"I am disgusted and horrified that a news reporter can stoop down to such a level. I, in all my career, haven't seen such a disgusting piece of news," Yuvraj wrote. "Media has no right to fabricate stories, they just want eyeballs."
His views were shared by his team's co-owner. "There is no truth to the speculative reportage that is being carried in various segments of the media and these get accentuated when the tide is not in our favour," Zinta said. "We are focused on the game today (against Royal Challengers Bangalore) and by reporting such stories we are distracting the players hence we request the media not to resort to such speculative reporting."
Yuvraj stressed that his batting form was linked to his return from injury and nothing else. "To come out of injury is not easy and I've had three in a row and I hope to bounce back soon," he wrote. "I always try to give my best no matter what the circumstance and right now am struggling with my form. It happens to every player."
There was also speculation that he wanted to transfer to another franchise and that Punjab had complained to the BCCI about the developments but the board denied receiving any such complaint. "There is no truth in such claims that a complaint was made to BCCI regarding Yuvraj," BCCI vice-president Rajiv Shukla told PTI. "Yuvraj is a great player but is currently out of form, which can happen to any cricketer. People should not read too much into the issue."