Anil Kumble has been appointed as the new head coach of the Kings XI Punjab franchise for the 2020 edition of the Indian Premier League. According to a report in ESPNCricinfo, Kings XI Punjab's co-owner Mohit Burman confirmed that Kumble has been put in charge of all 'cricket-related operations' for the near future. In another move, George Bailey, the Australian ODI player has been appointed as the new batting coach of the franchise. Kumble now becomes the only Indian coach in the entire IPL. This was Kings XI Punjab's fifth change in head coach in the last five years. Sanjay Bangar had coached the side from 2014 to 2016 while Virender Sehwag, who was the mentor of the side, became the coach in the 2017 edition. Brad Hodge was appointed in 2018 while Mike Hesson was in charge for the 2019 edition but parted ways with the franchise.
Kings XI Punjab have not enjoyed a good time in the IPL in the last five years, finishing bottom of the eight-team table in 2015 and 2016, before improving 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.
Kings XI Punjab have also brought West Indies great Courtney Walsh on board as talent scount, pretty much like the long-time association former India coach John Wright has with Mumbai Indians. Former India spinner Sunil Joshi and Kumble's longtime national and state teammate will be the assistant coach while South African great Jonty Rhodes is set to be the team's fielding coach.
This will be Kumble's third IPL franchise, having played as captain, coach and mentor for Royal Challengers Bangalore. In 2013, he moved to the Mumbai Indians as a team mentor and was then handed the reigns of the Indian national cricket team. However, Kumble stepped down in 2017 following the ICC Champions Trophy loss in the final to Pakistan as relations between him and Kohli broke down.
Kohli, the Indian cricket team skipper apparently engineered former coach Anil Kumble’s exit from the team following the end of the ICC Champions Trophy 2017 tournament. According to a recently leaked email accessed by Agence France-Presse (AFP), a senior BCCI official wrote to Vinod Rai, the Committee of Administrators head that Kohli "frequently sent SMSs to the CEO (Rahul Johir) on which you acted and there was a change in the coach". Diana Edulji, one of the members of the CoA, also added her inputs in the mail stating, "Mr Kumble a legend in his own right was subjected to loss of face and made to look like a villain. He was gracious enough to move on for which I respect him. There also, rules were broken and I had raised objections back then."
The ESPNCricinfo report further stated that Kumble would make a presentation to the team management on his plans for the road ahead on October 19. On the agenda, Ravichandran Ashwin's future could be decided. There are reports that Ashwin, the captain of the Kings XI side for the last two seasons, could be traded out to Delhi Capitals for the 2020 season.