The Kings XI Punjab (KXIP), one of the only three franchises which are yet to win the Indian Premier League (IPL) title, has appointed Anil Kumble as the head coach of the team. The decision on whether to retain or release Captain Ravi Ashwin of KXIP for the coming season will also be taken on 19 October after consultation with Kumble.
Kumble becomes the fifth coach to be appointed by KXIP in the last five seasons. Sanjay Bangar coached the team from 2014 to 2016 before Virender Sehwag took over in 2017. Brad Hodge managed the side in 2017, and Mike Hesson coached them in the 2019 season. Those four gentlemen were KXIP’s head coaches in the last five seasons, and former Indian head coach Kumble will now take over the reins of the team.
According to ESPN Cricinfo, Kumble has been put in charge of all “cricket-related affairs” of the team for the betterment of the franchise. With the signing, Kumble becomes the only Indian head coach in the IPL 2020.
We are pleased to confirm that Anil Kumble is our New Director of Cricket Operations! ?
— Kings XI Punjab (@lionsdenkxip) October 11, 2019
“It is a great challenge for me and an opportunity to get involved in the IPL again,” Kumble told KXIP on Friday (October 11). “I look forward to working with the owners and the players, and hope to make a significant contribution with the team,” Kumble added.
India’s highest test wicket-taker Kumble will lead the team as Mike Hesson parted his ways to Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) as their Director of Cricket Operations. Even though Hesson had signed a two-year contract, the 44-year-old left the role midway with the Punjab-based franchise, who finished sixth in this year’s edition.
Punjab will be the third IPL team Kumble is been involved with. Kumble earlier began playing for RCB and later captained the side in 2008 later was appointed as mentor for the same team before joining Mumbai Indians in 2013. In June 2016, he was appointed head coach of Indian cricket team by the BCCI for a period of one year, which he later resigned for ‘ unsustainable ‘ reasons.
Kings XI Punjab is led by Ravi Ashwin who is his protégé however reports stated that there are talks involving the franchise and Delhi Capitals to trade the off-spinner ahead of the upcoming IPL season. The final decision on the matter will be taken by Anil Kumble.
Speaking about Ravi Ashwin though the co-owner of the franchise Mohit Burman termed him as the best spinner they possess. “He is still the best spinner that you have,” he was quoted as saying by Cricket Next.
Courtney Walsh appointed Bowling coach
Kings XI Punjab has also appointed a new support staff for the upcoming season. It was in consultation with Anil Kumble to hire George Bailey as batting coach, who had previously played for the franchise and led them to the final in the 2014 IPL, Courtney Walsh has been named a bowling coach while Jonty Rhodes will take over as the team’s field coach. Former Indian spinner Sunil Joshi will be the deputy for Kumble as he takes on the role of assistant coach.
~Contribution from Om Mishra
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