Kings XI Pun­jab hand over coach­ing reins to Kum­ble

The Times of India (New Delhi edition) - - Times Sport - Gau­[email protected] times­group.com

Mum­bai: Al­most a cou­ple of years af­ter sign­ing off as the Team In­dia coach in ac­ri­mo­nious cir­cum­stances fol­low­ing a rift with skip­per Vi­rat Kohli — In­dia’s leg-spin great Anil Kum­ble is set to re­turn to coach­ing. In­dia’s high­est Test wicket-taker and for­mer cap­tain has taken over as di­rec­tor, cricket op­er­a­tions, of Kings XI Pun­jab. His con­tract was fi­nalised at a board meet­ing of the fran­chise on Thurs­day at a five-star ho­tel here.

“Kum­ble is our choice to coach Kings XI. The world knows about his crick­et­ing and coach­ing abil­i­ties. He’s a very calm, cool and col­lected per­son. He comes with a lot of ex­pe­ri­ence in the IPL, hav­ing worked with two other fran­chises in the past, and also with the In­dian team. We’re pretty sure that un­der his lead­er­ship, Kings XI will do very well,” Kings XI coowner Ness Wa­dia told TOI on Thurs­day. Kum­ble has been a chief men­tor with Royal Chal­lengers Ban­ga­lore and the Mum­bai In­di­ans in the past.

Amongst the support staff, which has been hired in con­sul­ta­tion with Kum­ble, for­mer Aus­tralian lim­ited overs cap­tain Ge­orge Bai­ley is the new bat­ting coach of the team. Bai­ley was the cap­tain of the Mo­hali side when they reached the IPL fi­nal in 2014. For­mer In­dia left-arm spin­ner Su­nil Joshi will be the as­sis­tant coach of the team. Joshi has been the spin bowl­ing coach of Bangladesh. South African great Jonty Rhodes is tipped to be the field­ing coach of the side, while West Indies pace le­gend Court­ney Walsh could be the bowl­ing coach cum tal­ent scout of the side.

There’s been spec­u­la­tion that the Kings may ‘trade’ their cap­tain —In­dia’s Test off-spin­ner R Ash­win to the Delhi Cap­i­tals, but Wa­dia was cat­e­gor­i­cal that Ash­win con­tin­ues to stay an in­te­gral part of the team.

Kum­ble’s first as­sign­ment will be lead­ing the King XI at the next IPL auc­tion in Kolkata on De­cem­ber 19.

ANIL KUM­BLE

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