- Former Indian Spinner Anil Kumble not happy with how many Indian head-coaches the tournament has
- Anil Kumble points out in a tournament called Indian Premier League there is only one Indian head coach
- Kumble talks about Chris Gayle in Kings XI Punjab
Former Indian spinner Anil Kumble is working on his Punjabi dialect. This is one of the things the former Indian skipper and coach –and one of the two players ever to take 10 wickets in a Test innings – is learning ahead of the 13th edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL).
As head coach of Kings XI Punjab, Kumble is “trying to speak with the Punjabi boys in as much Punjabi accent” as his Kannada tongue allows. It’s part of familiarisation with the team before the tournament starts on September 19.
Anil Kumble is lucky to try such things in an Indian Premier League franchise, unlike other Indian coaches who did not find a top seat at the helm of any of the other seven franchises in the league.
Kumble cannot help himself and sees the irony in the situation. During an interaction on Tuesday, the 49 year old former Indian skipper said, “I can’t answer that question (why other teams don’t have Indian head coaches). I don’t think it gives a true reflection of the quality or the availability of the Indian resources. It’s bit of an irony right? It’s the Indian Premier League and then you have only one Indian as the head coach. I am hopeful that there will be more Indian coaches in the mix,”.
The rest of the 7 franchises of the Indian Premier League have head coaches from overseas:
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- Brendon McCullum: Kolkata Knight Riders
- Ricky Ponting: Delhi Capitals
- Andrew McDonald: Rajasthan Royals
- Mahela Jayawardene: Mumbai Indians
- Trevor Bayliss: Sunrisers Hyderabad
- Stephen Fleming: Chennai Super Kings
- Simon Katich: Royal Challengers Bangalore.
Before Anil Kumble, only 3 Indians have coached in the Indian Premier League:
- Lalchand Rajput: Mumbai Indians
- Robin Singh: SunRisers Hyderabad
- Venkatesh Prasad: Royal Challengers Bangalore
Kumble said, “The reason I have taken up this assignment with KXIP is that we have great a squad to go all the way. That’s my role, to prepare the team. This is first time I am meeting the squad. Because of Covid, we have got to spend a longer time with the team. Otherwise, it’s just one week before the tournament,”.
Kumble also added, “I think our first goal is to prepare the team to achieve a common purpose, that of winning the IPL. It’s not only about me imparting knowledge. Our intention is to help the players in their careers. I know two months is a short time but at least, we will try and help them, especially (in) building fitness, preparing for a match.”
Talking about the IPL franchise Kings XI Punjab, Kumble is expecting senior players including Chris Gayle on taking up a more active role.
Kumble said, “The youngsters look up to him. It’s just not Chris the batsman we are looking at but also Chris in a leadership role, in terms of developing players. We have chats about him contributing. He has been with us for three to four days and he has been very keen,”.
Gayle’s inputs and experience will be all the more needed as KXIP have a new captain in KL Rahul. “I have seen KL from a young age. He has captained in junior matches before but this will be the first time that he will be captaining in a high-profile tournament. He has been brilliant so far, very relaxed. He knows the players more than me. He has been with the team for two years now. He has been in the scene (top level cricket) for 10 years now. He knows the nuances of what it takes to be as a leader,” said Kumble.
He said crucial additions in the squad would help the KXIP go deep in the IPL. “We have a strong team. We needed an impact player in the middle. So we have got Glenn Maxwell. He can be an impact player not just with the bat but also with his spin. Also, we needed a fast bowler at the death and Sheldon Cottrell will help us there,” said Kumble.