New Delhi:Kings XI Punjab co-owner Preity Zinta rubbished the rumours of rift in the team and said such reports were distractive to the players.
Reports of rift between former Punjab skipper Yuvraj Singh and Kumar Sangakkara have been doing the rounds. It has also been reported that the rift had pulled the Kings XI team down and was the main reason behind their losing streak in this season.
There were also speculations that Yuvraj Singh was deliberately underperforming in the Indian Premier League after being stripped of Kings XI Punjab's captaincy.
To this, Zinta said in a statement, "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".
We are focused on the game today (against Bangalore) and by reporting such stories we are distracting the players hence we request the media not to resort to such speculative reporting," she added.
Yuvraj has also hit back strongly at the rumours of his underperformance.
"I am disgusted & horrified. Injury is not easy and I've had 3 in a row and I hope to bounce back soon. I always try to give my best, no matter what the circumstance and right now I am struggling with my form. It happens to every player," Yuvraj wrote on his Twitter account.
Both Yuvraj and Sangakkara also denied the rumours of a rift.
Sangakkara, who is back at the helm after serving a one-match ban for the team's repeated slow over-rate, however, begged to differ and said all negative stories stem from the outfit's poor performance in IPL 3.
"There is no rift. Unfortunately there is a lot of disappointment when players don't get picked and players don't perform well. That is bound to happen. But there is no anger or any direct criticism of any particular player," he said.
Dismissing reports that he and Yuvraj were not on best of terms and that it was affecting the team morale, the Sri Lankan said, "You saw the warm up game we had. All the local, domestic, Indian and international players got on so well together. I believe that's the way cricket is. When you lose everyone opens themselves up to criticism, some fair and some unfair."
Yuvraj, meanwhile, was annoyed with the reports of a 'rift' between him and Sangakkara.
"If anybody is out of form, it does not mean you (media) can write anything," an angry-looking Yuvraj told a group of journalists as he kept walking towards his car after practice on Thursday.
"You cannot just go on and write one is against the other without any basis. Whatever is being written and said is not correct. There is no rift," said Yuvraj.
Sangakkara threw his weight behind out of form Yuvraj and said such bad patch was common for a cricketer.
"If you take any player, good or bad, some days they perform, some days they don't. Unfortunately, Yuvraj's preparation had been hampered by injury. In this competition, it's like a pressure cooker atmosphere. There is no let off, no time for rest and you have one game coming after the other," explained Sangakkara.
"Yuvraj is one of the best T20 batsmen in the world. Over the years, he has proved it with his performance. He is one player who is expected to perform every single game," said the Lankan.
Asked if it was Yuvraj's flamboyant lifestyle that made him vulnerable to scrutiny and criticism when he is not performing, Sangakkara said, "It depends on how one perceives.
Everyone who plays cricket around the world leads a positive lifestyle, which compliments it on the field as well.
"I don't think anyone should be like a prisoner in your own home. Everyone has a lot of individuality and uniqueness.
Yuvraj Singh is Yuvraj Singh. I think he is one who is not successful just on the field, but off the field as well. He has not changed one bit since he came in to the IPL and he has also made lot of contributions to the Indian team over the years," Sangakkara said.