Legendary Indian cricketer Anil Kumble has been appointed as the head coach of Kings XI Punjab in the Indian Premier League (IPL). Besides being handed the main job, Kumble has also been given the responsibility to oversee “all cricket-related affairs” of the franchise for the foreseeable future.
Kumble is a good appointment for KXIP, who haven’t quite hit the ground running in 12 seasons in the cash-rich T20 league. The focus and determination of Kumble to excel can help a young KXIP side. He will also be immense for the youngsters. Kumble as a personality will bring loads of experience as a leader and his stints with Royal Challengers Bangalore and Mumbai Indians could help him to lay his fundamentals. He can be a long-term coach and prepare a road-map for the northern outfit.
Kings XI Punjab will be the third IPL franchise that Kumble will be involved with. He started out as a player with Royal Challengers Bangalore in 2008. The legend was then appointed as a mentor by the same team. He then went on to join the Mumbai Indians in a similar role in 2013. Kumble then left the position in 2015.
When you look at KXIP, they have made it a habit of too much of structural changes. They were extremely busy in the last two IPL auctions. They chose to overhaul the team and both times it backfired. Now with the change in management as well, the side needs to start afresh. This is a massive moment for the franchise and KXIP cannot afford to let Kumble down here. It is also crucial for Kumble to handle matters well and get this side to fire.
Kumble will want to bring all his learnings into play in a tournament where things happen in a flash. What he is also set to do is keep skipper R Ashwin in a likely scenario. According to a report in ESPNcricinfo, the former leg-spinner would make a presentation to the KXIP team management on his plans for the road ahead on October 19. However, on the same day, a decision regarding current skipper R Ashwin is set to be made.
It has been understood that Kumble is keen on Ash leading the line after earlier it was reported that Ashwin is set to join Delhi Capitals. Also, recently in an interview with Cricketnext.com, Kumble had praised Ashwin and said he is the best spinner available.
With DC having a fleet of spinners at their disposal and KXIP needing a leader in ranks, Kumble will try to convince Ashwin to stay. Kumble could also help Ashwin in bettering his skills and that in turn will be a big help. Ashwin is an admirer of Kumble and the two can work well. Kumble can lead KXIP to IPL glory but it might not happen instantly. Once he gets the unit performing as a team and getting the balance, the title could arrive by then. In 1-2 seasons, KXIP could win their maiden title.