KXIP are likely to continue with the captain & coach combination of KL Rahul & Anil Kumble even after finishing sixth in IPL 2020.
A team source told media that the owners want Rahul & Kumble to take the team ahead in the 2021 IPL edition which is scheduled in less than six months. Rahul who is handling captaincy for KXIP for the first time in IPL had another stellar season with the bat, amassing 670 runs at an average of 55.83. It was Kumble’s first season with kXIP. KXIP who never had a stable team have finally found a core group of players around whom a team can be built. That group includes Mayank Agarwal, Nicholas Pooran, Mohammed Shami, Chris Gayle and youngsters like Ravi Bishnoi and Arshdeep Singh.
KXIP’s management wants to plug the gaps in the middle batting order & bowling department which has been a big issue for the team for a number of years.
“The owners are happy with captain and coach. Rahul was exceptional with the bat and team scripted a remarkable comeback in the second half of the season. Had that short run not being called in the first game (against DC), the team would have been in play-offs.
“The good thing is a core group has been identified. Gaps need to be plugged in the middle-order where the team needs a power hitter and also a world class fast bowler to support Shami,” the source said.
After losing six games out of seven, KXIP won five games in line to find themselves in contention for a play-off spot but lost their last league game against CSK to bow out of the competition. The last time KXIP made the play-offs was in 2014.
The team is deciding to release Maxwell, Cottrell as the management had paid a huge sum of money for Glenn Maxwell & Sheldon Cottrell but both the players failed to deliver especially Maxwell who scored just 108 runs in 13 games at 15.42. The team had bought back Maxwell after letting him go following the 2017 season.
“Their performance was not on expected lines and it will be tough to continue with them,” the source added. A decision on Maxwell & Cottrell future with the team would be taken in team’s review meeting. A lot also depends on the size of auction ahead of 2021 edition if it is held at all. If not a mega auction, KXIP would like to have a mini auction where they can solidify their middle-order and death bowling.