Anil Kumble, the current head coach of Kings XI Punjab (KXIP), has affirmed that star batsman Chris Gayle has a major role to play as a ‘mentor’ in the upcoming edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL).
Gayle, who has crossed his prime, will remain an integral part of KXIP with his abundance of experience in the shortest format of the game.
He is the leading run-scorer in the T20 format with over 10,000 runs to his name. The 41-year-old is also amongst the leading run-scorers in IPL.
Further, with the likes of Jimmy Neesham, Glenn Maxwell, Sheldon Cottrell and Chris Jordan in the side, it is unlikely that Gayle will feature in the XI, regularly. Especially, given the fact that only four overseas cricketers are permitted in the XI.
“We will have to see the conditions at the main ground as we have been practising. Chris has a major role as a player and even otherwise. His leadership, his experience, the youngsters look up to him. It is not just Chris the batsman we are looking at but Chris in a leadership role in terms of his contribution to developing young players. I want him to be active in the mentorship role,” Kumble was quoted as saying in Cricbuzz.
“Not just foreign players (but) picking Indian players will be a challenge. We have a few practice games that will tell us (the best combination). We have a strong team. We needed an impact player in the middle and not just with batting and fielding and Maxwell is also handy with the ball. And a fast bowler who bowls at the death.” the 49-year old added.
Need more Indian head coaches in IPL: Kumble
Interestingly, Kumble is the only head coach of Indian origin to feature in IPL 2020. The cricketer-turned-coach intended to see more Indian head coaches participating in the best T20 league in the world.
“I would like to see more Indian coaches in the IPL. It is not a true reflection of the Indian resources.” I would want to see many Indians being part of the IPL as head coaches. It is a bit of an irony – one Indian as head coach. I think at some point of time there will be a lot more Indian coaches,” Kumble concluded.