Regularly changing captains and coaches have hurt Kings XI Punjab in the past, which is why the franchise has decided to work on a three-year plan under Anil Kumble and KL Rahul to take the side forward, said co-owner Ness Wadia. It was a rollercoaster ride for KXIP this IPL. They lost six of their first seven games before winning five in a row to make it back into the playoffs. The Rahul-led side had to win their last league game against Chennai Super Kings to reach the top-four, but they failed.
Looking back on the recently concluded season, Wadia said the referee error made a short run while not costing the team a play-off berth, although it failed to show the required consistency in the first year under captain and coach. from Rahul and Kumble.
“It’s a new captain, a new team with a lot of fresh faces, sometimes it clicks and sometimes it doesn’t. The auction is coming and we would like to fill the gaps in the middle class and our bowling.” Wadia told PTI.
“The international players did not perform to the expected level,” he said referring to the likes of Glenn Maxwell and Sheldon Cottrell, for whom KXIP paid a lot of money at the auction last year.
He also said Chris Gayle, who surprisingly wasn’t picked in the first half of the tournament, had done enough to get out of the first game next season.
On the speculation surrounding a ninth team for the following season, Wadia said it showed the ever-increasing interest in the world‘s largest T20 competition and would welcome the addition as long as it doesn’t hit existing teams financially.
Speaking about the future under Kumble and Rahul, Wadia said: “We’ve set a three-year strategy with Anil. We’ve renewed this season and finished sixth and lost (the play-off spot) by just one match.
“KL (Rahul) has been with us for three years and there was a reason why we chased him so aggressively. He proved we were right,” he said, referring to the tournament’s top runner-up.
“It’s hard for the top order if your middle order isn’t performing. The good thing is that we now have an established core (Rahul, Agarwal, Pooran, Gayle and Shami) and we need to fill in the gaps that are pretty obvious (middle order and death bowling). “
Kumble took over from Mike Hesson, who split after one season, while Rahul was appointed captain following the move from R Ashwin to Delhi Capitals.
“… KXIP’s track record of making too many changes in captaincy and coaching is something we want to correct,” he said.
“Rahul has been an exceptionally good captain and gained more confidence with every match. We are lucky to have him. Shami has also been brilliant and adapted brilliantly to the T20 format. The poor and young Ravi Bishnoi and Arshdeep Singh also have performed well. “
KXIP had the services of T Natarajan (now SRH) and Varun Chakravarthy (KKR) in the past, but they let them go.
“Imagine we had those players, Sam Curran (CSK) too, but again, it’s all in hindsight. Every coach who comes in has a thought process and a way of behaving like any other CEO of a company.
“You have to give them time to settle down, provide stability and let them make mistakes and learn from them and move the team forward,” said Wadia.
Gayle was not selected for the first five games and food poisoning ruled him out for the next two.
He ended up playing after seven games and shot right away to finish with 288 runs at 41.14 including a 99.
“The team management did what it thought was best for the team. It is important to support experienced players and Gayle has shown that he has to play every game next season,” said the co-owner.
Wadia also called for rule changes in the IPL after a brief call against Dehi Capitals effectively cost them a playoff spot.
“It’s bizarre. Rules need to be updated. Today is KXIP, tomorrow it could be other teams.”
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