Two days after retaining Ravichandran Ashwin in their squad for the upcoming season after nearly trading him to the Delhi Capitals, Indian Premier League (IPL) franchise Kings XI Punjab (KXIP) unveiled India spin icon Anil Kumble as their director of cricket operations.
The franchise made the announcement at an event in New Delhi, in which they also unveiled the team's new jersey for the upcoming season, with EbixCash being their new title sponsors in a three-year deal.
"I hope that this partnership will grow from strength to strength, and with me coming on board to Kings XI, we will be able to achieve what Kings XI hasn't been able to over the last 12 years."
"Silverware would be fantastic in the cupboard. I think this is what it was waiting for all these 12 years," Kumble, who will also be serving as the KXIP head coach, said at the event.
Kumble had earlier represented Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) for three seasons, between 2008 and 2010, collecting a total of 45 wickets at an average of 23.51. Among the leg-spinner's most memorable performances with the ball in the league was his haul of 5/5 against Rajasthan Royals, helping bowl the Jaipur-based franchise out for a lowly 58 in what remains one of RCB's most memorable wins.
After quitting all forms of cricket in 2011, the ex-India leg-spinner joined RCB as their chief mentor between 2011 and 2013, before joining four-time champions Mumbai Indians in the same capacity.
In his new role with the Mohali-based franchise, Kumble will take over the coaching responsibility from Mike Hesson, who had quit as the head coach after one season in charge that saw Kings XI finish sixth on the points table with six wins from 14 games. Hesson stepped down from the role in order to apply for the position of the head coach of the Indian team, which eventually went to the incumbent Ravi Shastri.
Kings XI also decided to withdraw their decision to trade Ashwin to the Delhi Capitals on Monday, with co-owner Ness Wadia citing a "rethink" by the board. However, it's not been made clear yet whether Ashwin will be retained as the captain of the side after two seasons in charge.
Ashwin's captaincy across the two seasons has been marked by the team getting off to a strong start at the start of the season followed by an inexplicable drop in intensity and momentum as the tournament approached its business end, with the team finishing in the bottom half on each occasion.