Indian Premier League (IPL) side Kings XI Punjab have decided not to trade Ravichandran Ashwin to the Delhi Capitals, after their board had a rethink.
Ashwin captained the side during the last two iterations of the league, but Punjab were giving serious consideration to allowing him to leave, as the franchise looks to improve their miserable record in the tournament, having made the play-offs only once since the inaugural holding of the event in 2008, when they reached the semi-finals.
In 2019 they finished sixth, and last year were seventh.
The continued quest for success has seen a lot of comings and goings amongst the support staff at Punjab, with Sanjay Bangar, Virender Sehwag, Brad Hodge, and Mike Heeson all having spells as head coach in recent years.
Now they are looking to turn a new page with the appointment of former test cricketer and spinner Anil Kumble as their new head coach, handing the 48 year old a three year contract.
Kumble quit his role as India head coach in 2017 following the Champions Trophy defeat to Pakistan, amidst reports of serious disagreements with captain Virat Kohli in the wake of that loss. Since then, he has had advisory roles with the Mumbai Indians and Royal Challengers Bangalore. Now Punjab are hoping that he will be the man to help end their long title drought.
One of his first acts as head coach has been to recommend that Punjab retain the services of Ashwin, who, through his performances, and the way that he plays the game, acts as an example to his team mates. Under his leadership Punjab were one of the best teams in the first half of this season’s IPL, before their challenge subsequently faded away.
33 year old Ashwin, having fallen out of favour at test level, the only format of the game which he plays internationally, has enjoyed a return to form this autumn, after being recalled for the test series against South Africa. In the first test played at Visakhapatnam, he took eight wickets in the match and, in the process, equalled the record of Sri Lankan great Muttiah Muralitharan as the fastest bowler to 350 test wickets.
And, having claimed six victims in the second test in Pune, he is well on the way to his next milestone of 400 test wickets.
Now it looks like he will get the chance to lead Kings when they embark on their next assault on the IPL.