Kings XI Punjab hand over coaching reins to Kumble
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.