She knows quite well how to slip in the word 'momentum' while talking about a match, and she sure knows more than a thing or two about backing her players. In 2008, it was clear that the Bollywood queen had put in an effort to learn the game and the vocabulary to fit in. It's been a long seven years since, and Preity Zinta talks about her ups and downs with Kings XI Punjab, which she co-owns.
There were decent celebrations in the first few IPL seasons, while in 2010 there was hardly any as Punjab and Rajasthan were terminated by the BCCI for not having disclosed their shareholding pattern publicly. That meant a lot of running around in trying to get back to playing, which Preity and her team did pretty well.
"It becomes very difficult when you have to pay Rs 100 crore bank guarantees and it's not just cricket playing on your mind," Preity was quoted as saying to the TOI. "It was only in 2013 that things began to get normal for the franchise. The first two years of IPL was about understanding how to go about the whole thing, but in 2010 all the wrong kind of things started to happen and we were dealing with court cases. There were issues with the BCCI and it was a very difficult phase. When you get into these things, it's not easy at all."
With some great buys at the auctions this year, Punjab have won three out of three matches so far this season. And the team combination looks promising from the outside, for the franchise to finally taste success.
"Fingers crossed, I'm looking forward to a good tournament," Preity said. "All the stakeholders in Kings XI Punjab - the team owners, players, coaches and support staff, sponsors, fans - have stood by us through good and bad times. To whatever extent we succeed, it's for all of them."
Preity has stated several times that it was due to new coach and expert Sanjay Bangar's commitment that the team took shape the way it did.
"Getting him on board is the best thing that could happen to us," Preity pointed out. "He is a man of very few words but his contribution has been immense. All credit to him. He's a very humble man and the players like him very much."
Being a celebrity woman amongst men, Preity says it was not easy to deal with all the media attention. Whenever she was seen in the dugout, there was so much talk about her that she found it rather uncomfortable.
"A hug or a handshake with players always ended up with people talking all kinds of nonsense," the actress added. "It was always rubbed in that I was a woman ... 'Oh so she hugged, she must have done something more.' I was always reminded about being a woman in a male dominated game and I could only blame the media for that."