In Kings XI Punjab’s quest for an elusive Indian Premier League title new Director of Cricket Anil Kumble will be absolute in charge of the cricketing affairs.
Kings XI Punjab owners have been at the forefront of cricketing affairs even as the team has failed to win a single Indian Premier League title in 12 seasons. Scenario seems to have changed with the appointment of Anil Kumble as the Head Coach and the Director of Cricket. It was also evident during the IPL 2020 Auction in Kolkata on December 19 when Kumble was calling shots with none of the majority KXIP stakeholders – Mohit Burman, Preity Zinta or Ness Wadia – around.
An absolute power to the coach or in charge for cricket operations is in sharp contrast to the scenario where former KXIP coach Virender Sehwag had alleged too much interference and lack of independence in managing the sporting affairs of the team.
However, Kumble himself has confirmed that owners would not be involved in the cricketing affairs of the KXIP.
One of the three Indian Premier League teams who haven’t been able to win the title till date, Kings XI Punjab have roped in former Team India captain and coach Anil Kumble to change their fortunes this IPL Season 13th. Kumble has been appointed as the head coach and director of cricket operations of Kings XI. Having come in with a vast experience as a player, coach, and mentor of different IPL teams, India’s leading wicket-taker in international cricket joins the set-up with huge expectations to turn around the teams fortunes.
Kumble, in an interview with Deccan Herald, has mentioned that striking a positive working relationship with the owners was very important as they are the ones who invest heavily in the team.
IPL Auction 2020 was the first time when the Kings XI Punjab owner Preity Zinta was not seen around. She had been a regular at the auctions, calling shots for the KXIP. However, after Kumble’s inclusion as the head coach and director of cricket operations, he has been given an absolute authority to manage the team, including which players to buy in the auction and then managing the players when the action really starts.
Kumble also stated that there were a couple of meetings with the owners before the auction along with exchanging of ideas, what the owners felt could be the right fit for the team and what Kumble opined could be the right squad.
The KXIP in the last couple of years had started well in the tournament but could not really seize the pressure moments and therefore could not qualify for the playoffs. Kumble says that the roles and responsibilities of every player will be assigned before the league. If it works, it works and if it doesn’t we correct it. We make those course corrections, not after one game or every game because if you start doing course correction every game, then you are in trouble. My plan is to make sure there is some consistency with the way we go about it.
Kumble kept the owners in the loop of how exactly he is going to go after players in the auction which they were very happy about. I am glad that there has been no problem so far and something that will remain in the future as well, says Kumble. I thought the auction went really well for us in terms of putting together a squad which the management and the captain and the players enough to tinker around as and when we require, any option you want. I think all those options are there. Also, putting together a balanced squad with spending the least amount of money in the auction (₹68.50 crores) is another positive for the team.