Kumble ‘not sure’ if Ashwin will lead KXIP
Even though Kings XI Punjab co-owner Ness Wadia on Monday confirmed that the franchise has decided not to trade Ravichandran Ashwin with Delhi Capitals following a “rethink” by the board, newly appointed team's director of cricket operations and former Indian captain and coach Anil Kumble on Wednesday during team’s title sponsor launch says that he’s yet to decide on Ashwin’s role in the team and is not certain that the spinner will be leading the side again.
Ashwin captained the side in the last two seasons but failed to take them to the play-offs despite good start in the first half on both the occasions.
“We have not decided that yet (whether Ashwin will lead the side in 2020 edition). Some decisions need to be made but we don’t need to decide at this moment. IPL is still five months away. There is an auction coming up, we will start to build a squad around that as well.
“Ashwin had a wonderful two years but of course we did not get the right results but we have not made any decision about who the captain will be.”
However the legendary spinner, who has previously worked with Royal Challengers Bangalore and Kings XI Punjab, said that any decision on him will not be an easy one as he is a senior player.
It is believed that Ashwin’s recent form against South Africa in the Test series forced the franchise to retain him as he brings a wealth of experience.
On being asked about KL Rahul — Kings XI’s leading run getter in the last two season following his big money move from Royal Challengers Bangalore. The former Indian captain said, “Though he hasn’t performed good in the recent times but I still believe that he (KL) is a very good batsman in shorter format of the game and will have a huge role to play this time again.”
Kumble said his aim with the team is to make it consistent for the long haul by blending in more experience in the side.
“Focus will be on strengthening the squad from all angles. There is no ideal team as in the auction you won’t get the players you want. You need to be smart. We need bit more of experience in the squad.
“It’s never easy in T20. Margin between two teams are very minimum. It is not just about experience but also skill sets. I would like a team that can be consistent in all seasons,” said the former India captain who has been handed a three-year contract.
Asked if the middle-order is something that needs to be worked on, Kumble said: “There are certain gaps that we need to fill. It’s not just about one particular position in the playing XI. We need backups also in the squad. We have talented players in the squad. The auction is still a couple of months away. We still have time. I have just come in. For me to understand the dynamics, I need more time.”