Former India cricket captain Anil Kumble, who had been recently roped in as the new head coach of Kings XI Punjab (KXIP), has backed his decision to appoint KL Rahul as the captain of the team for the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2020 season by saying that the opener had been the best batsman of the franchise over the last two years. In the last two editions, Ravichandran Ashwin had captained the team but KXIP had him traded to Delhi Capitals.
India opener KL Rahul amassed 1182 runs in the previous two editions of the IPL with 1 century and 12 half-centuries at an impeccable average of 54.91 and 53.90 in 2018 and 2019 respectively.
Anil Kumble, while speaking to a leading media network, said that KL Rahul had been the best performer for them in the past two editions and added that it was the appropriate time for the right-hander to step up and take charge of the side on the field as well. He went on to say that it was important to build the franchise around an Indian international player and that was one of the reasons they picked Rahul.
KXIP went into the auction with the fattest purse and 9 slots to be filled that included 5 Indian and 4 overseas players. They spent ₹16.5 crore on 8 players, with their costliest buy being Australian all-rounder Glenn Maxwell, whom they purchased for a whopping ₹10.75 crore. Besides Maxwell, KXIP also picked up valuable buys in England all-rounder Chris Jordan and bowler Ravi Bishnoi, who combined for a price tag of ₹5 crore. West Indies pacer Sheldon Cottrell also bagged his maiden IPL contract for ₹8.5 crore.
Anil Kumble replaces Mike Hesson as the head coach for upcoming season as the Kiwi switched his base from KXIP to Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB). This is Kumble's first stint as the head coach of a team in the IPL. He had earlier served as a chief mentor for RCB and four-time champions Mumbai Indians (MI). Supporting Anil Kumble in the coaching staff is former KXIP captain George Bailey, while former left-arm spinner Sunil Joshi will serve as the assistant coach.