IPL 2019 Player Auction: The unheralded Varun Chakravarthy’s whopping Rs 8.40 crore deal at the IPL auctions have raised eyebrows but Kings XI Punjab co-owner Preity Zinta termed the Tamil Nadu spinner a “long-term investment” and a “back-up spinner” for skipper Ravichandran Ashwin.

Confirming that Ashwin will continue to lead the KXIP this season, Zinta provided the rationale behind picking Varun, who did well in the Tamil Nadu Premier League (TNPL), for such a humongous amount.

“Varun is an underexposed mystery bowler along with being a back-up spinner who will add value to the team. Kings XI Punjab has always wanted to give chance to untested talent and Varun is a long-term investment for us,” Zinta told PTI in an e-mail interview.

“I feel that with guidance from coach Mike Hesson, he (Varun) will be able to hone his capabilities and contribute to team’s success,” the Bollywood actor said.

She was happy that Kings XI were able to pick players whom the management thought could be the missing link from the last edition.

“We opted a thought through strategy for the 2019 Indian Premier League auctions. We wanted to pick up players that could fill in the missing gaps and create a remarkable team line-up.

“I believe that we have a balanced side now with a lot of good options in our kitty in case of requirements during the season,” she said.

Teenagers like Prabh Simran Singh has landed a cool Rs 1.5 crore contract even before playing a single Ranji Trophy match but Zinta believes that if someone is talented, he should be backed.

“At the Kings XI Punjab, we have always believed in providing an opportunity to domestic talent and Prabh Simran is the new star on the horizon. The management team at KXIP does background research before bidding for any player,” she reasoned.

She also spoke about the local connection which went a long way in bidding for Prabhsimran.

“I personally feel that he is a local boy from Punjab and a talent to watch out for in future,” she added.

There is a possibility that IPL might shift to South Africa if the dates clash with that of general elections but her team is ready for any eventuality.

“We have faced such scenario in the past (2009 in SA and 2014 in UAE) and are adequately prepared for the upcoming season.

“The balance and constitution of the team is such that they can play in India or any other country with the same zeal and deliver outstanding results,” she signed off.

(With PTI inputs)