Anil Kumble has been appointed as the head coach of Kings XI Punjab in the IPL from the upcoming season, while also being put in charge of “all cricket-related affairs” of the team for the foreseeable future, co-owner of the franchise Mohit Burman has confirmed. The appointment makes Kumble the only Indian coach in the IPL.
Burman also informed ESPNcricinfo that Kumble would make a presentation to the team management on his plans for the road ahead on October 19. On the same day, an update on R Ashwin‘s future with the team is also expected.
As ESPNcricinfo had reported on September 3, there were talks between the franchise and Delhi Capitals for Ashwin, Kings XI’s captain for the last two IPL seasons, to be traded out. Burman said that the final call on that would be taken by Kumble, who recently lavished praise on the offspinner in an interview with Cricketnext.com, saying, “he is still the best spinner that you have.”
Kings XI were coached by Mike Hesson, the former New Zealand men’s coach, last season, and Kumble’s appointment makes it five coaches in five seasons for the team. Sanjay Bangar was in charge between 2014 and 2016 before Virender Sehwag, who was already their mentor, became head of cricket operations in 2017, followed by Brad Hodge and Hesson taking over as head coach in 2018 and 2019, respectively.
The results, however, didn’t change dramatically even as the support staff did, with the team finishing bottom of the eight-team table in 2015 and 2016, before improving somewhat to end at fifth, seventh and sixth in the last three seasons. In 2014, they were the table-toppers but lost the final to Kolkata Knight Riders, which was their only appearance in the final four after the inaugural season in 2008, when they made the semi-finals.
As for Kumble, who served as head coach of the India men’s team between 2016 and 2017, Kings XI will be the third IPL team he will be involved with. He started out as a player – and later captain – with Royal Challengers Bangalore in 2008. He was then appointed as a mentor by the same team, before joining Mumbai Indians in a similar role in 2013. He left the position in 2015 and subsequently took up the job with the India team, which he stepped down from after the 2017 Champions Trophy, calling his relationship with captain Virat Kohli “untenable”.
Kumble was also one of the members on the inaugural Euro T20 Slam’s advisory committee, but the league was cancelled two weeks before its scheduled start in August because of financial issues.