Kings XI Punjab are set to continue with KL captain and coach Rahul and Anil Kumble, even after finishing sixth in a hotly contested 2020 Indian Premier League.
A source from the team told PTI that the owners wanted Rahul and Kumble to move the team forward into the 2021 edition, which is due in less than six months.
Rahul, who led the first-team team this season, had another outstanding season with the bat, amassing 670 points with an average of 55.83. It was Kumble’s first season with the franchise.
KXIP, which has never had a unit installed, has finally found a core of players around whom a team can build.
This group includes Rahul, Mayank Agarwal, Nicholas Pooran, Mohammad Shami, Chris Gayle and young people like Ravi Bishnoi and Arshdeep Singh.
Management wants to fill the gaps in intermediate order and bowling service, which has been a problem for several years.
“The owners are happy with the captain and the coach. Rahul was exceptional with the bat and the team wrote a remarkable comeback in the second half of the season. If this short term had not been called in the first game (against DC), the team would have been in the play-offs.
“The good thing is that a core group has been identified. The gaps need to be closed in the middle order where the team needs a powerful hitter and also a world class fast pitcher to support Shami, ”the source said.
After losing six of its first seven games, KXIP has won five in a row to find itself in contention for a play-off spot, but lost its last league game to CSK to withdraw from the competition. The last time KXIP made the dams was in 2014.
Maxwell, Cottrell will likely be released
KXIP had paid big bucks for Glenn Maxwell (10.75 crore) and Sheldon Cottrell (8.5 crore), but the two didn’t do much to write about, especially the Australian who achieved 108 points in 13 games at 15.42. The team had bought out Maxwell after letting him go after the 2017 season.
“Their performance was not as expected and it will be difficult to continue with them,” added the source.
A call on their future will be taken at the team’s review meeting.
A lot also depends on the size of the auction before the 2021 edition, if it takes place. If it’s not a mega auction, KXIP would love to have a mini auction where they can consolidate their middle order and bowling.