Anil Kumble hasn’t shied away from calling R Ashwin an “asset” whichever team he plays for, but the former India legspinner is not certain about the 32-year-old continuing as captain of Kings XI Punjab in the next edition of the IPL. Kumble, who was appointed KXIP head coach last week, insisted that although a call on captaincy is yet to be taken, Ashwin is no longer an automatic choice for the post.
The India offspinner led KXIP in the previous edition of IPL, where the team finished second from bottom with 12 points from 14 matches. A while back, reports had emerged which suggested Ashwin might have been traded with Delhi Capitals before franchise co-owner Ness Wadia announced that he was retained.
“I think any decision on Ashwin or any other player is an internal matter of the team,” Kumble told Times of India. “Ash is a fantastic asset for the team. We all know his contributions for the Indian team over the last so many years. He has been a brilliant player for India but there is no certainty yet that he’ll be captain this year. Moving forward, we still haven’t taken any decision on anyone for that matter. We need to sit down with the board.
Kumble has earlier served as a mentor with Royal Challengers Bangalore and Mumbai Indians. He went on to coach the Indian cricket team between 2016 and 2017 before he unceremoniously stepped down from the post after, calling his relations with Virat Kohli “untenable.”
India’s leading wicket-taker in Tests, president of the Karnataka State Cricket Association and commentary may be one of the few things Kumble is known to be, but for the former India legspinner, coaching is the one thing that has always helped him stay connected with the game.
“I have always enjoyed being among the players,” Kumble added. “I may have been a cricket administrator and now a commentator, but it’s being on the field that I like the most. To contribute and give back the experiences I’ve had and share my thought process with the players. If I can help develop their game and fast track whatever they want to achieve, I’m always up for it.”
The IPL 202 auction takes is set to take place on December 19 and despite the presence of some world-class players in KL Rahul, Mayank Agarwal, Mohammed Shami, David Miller and Sam Curran, Kumble is hoping his team could bring some fire-power in the middle order and death overs.
“There are certain gaps that one needs to fill. We are certainly looking to add some experience to our middle order. We have Chris Gayle who is perhaps the most experienced international player in T20 format,” Kumble pointed out.