India’s highest wicket-taker in Test matches, Anil Kumble broke into the limelight when he was announced as the Kings Eleven Punjab (KXIP) Director of Cricket Operations for the upcoming season of the World’s premier T20 tournament, Indian Premier League (IPL). This comes after his disastrous stint with the Indian national men’s cricket side where he resigned from his head coach position due to an “untenable relationship” with Indian Captain Virat Kohli in 2017.
In the past, Kumble has worked with two IPL sides, Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) and Mumbai Indians (MI). He worked for both the sides as a mentor. At RCB, he didn’t win any title with his star-studded side but when he joined MI, it was a highly successful stint for him and the whole unit. His champion side from Mumbai played at their highest level throughout Kumble’s stint.
There will be a lot of expectations on the former leg spinner’s shoulders as KXIP has failed to win even a single title in their IPL history. Kumble’s first major focus will be on offloading some players from the squad and adding a few T20 stars to his side in the upcoming auction. He may look to change the structure and hierarchy of their team which has failed to leave an impact in the past couple of years.
KXIP yet to make their decision on their skipper
The biggest issue to sort out for the Punjab side is to choose a fearless leader who thinks out of the box like Rohit Sharma or MS Dhoni. Kumble has said that according to him there is some uncertainty over the captaincy of Ashwin going into the next season.
However, Kings XI Punjab co-owner Ness Wadia told that the franchise is surely going to retain their last season’s captain. But at the same time, Kumble knows how big the stature of Ashwin is in Indian cricket. Keeping this in mind, whatever decision the team management takes, it will be a tough one for sure.
“We have not decided that yet. Some decisions need to be made but we don’t need to decide at this moment. IPL is still five months away. There is an auction coming up, we will start to build a squad around that as well. Ashwin had a wonderful two years but of course we did not get the right results but we have not made any decision who the captain will be,” Kumble told as quoted by Hindustan Times after getting elected as KXIP’s Director of Cricket Operations.