Anil Kumble to WION: Selection headache a good thing for Punjab Kings

Written By: Digvijay Singh Deo WION Web Team
New Delhi, India Published: Apr 06, 2021, 07.29 PM(IST)

Anil Kumble to WION: With new additions, Punjab Kings got all bases covered at auction Photograph:( AFP )

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Anil Kumble, the Director of Cricket Operations at Punjab Kings, in an exclusive interview with WION’s Sports Editor, Digvijay Singh Deo, talked about the selection headache for the KL Rahul-led outfit while also sharing the plans for the auction. 

Punjab Kings have been eyeing the coveted Indian Premier League (IPL) trophy for long and with an eye to end the title jinx, the rebranded outfit would be heading into the 14th edition of the tournament after strengthening the squad at the auction table. With new additions in the team with the likes of Dawid Malan, Jhye Richardson, Riley Meredith, Shahrukh Khan among others, Punjab Kings are looking at a selection headache for the upcoming edition of the lucrative T20 tournament. 

Anil Kumble, the Director of Cricket Operations at Punjab Kings, in an exclusive interview with WION’s Sports Editor, Digvijay Singh Deo, talked about the selection headache for the KL Rahul-led outfit while also sharing the plans for the auction. 

Punjab Kings signed a few big-name players in the world of T20 cricket during the 2021 auction. While they got the world’s number one T20I batsman Dawid Malan, surprisingly, for his base price, they broke the bank for the Australian troika of Jhye Richardson, Riley Meredith and Moises Henriques. Additionally, they capped an impressive auction by signing some eye-catching domestic talents in the likes of Jalaj Saxena, Shahrukh Khan, Utkarsh Singh and Saurabh Kumar.

“I think people sort of tend to discuss the actual money spent on a particular player, whether that particular player is actually that valuable. I think in the overall scheme of things like I mentioned, it was a small auction, where the interest on one particular player or two particular players would be, you know, more than two or three franchises wanting that particular player. So, as I mentioned, we wanted to create some sort of options for us to have the firepower and some pace,” Kumble told WION in an exclusive interview. 

“And that's why we looked at Riley Meredith. And we believe that somebody of his pace, raw pace, as somebody who can ball that consistently more than 145 kilometres per hour, we felt that that's something that we wanted as an option. 

Kumble

“Yes, you know, when you look at the money spent, you sort of think, ‘Oh, no, he hasn't played for Australia’ (at that point in time). Why are they spending so much as I mentioned in a small auction, it's very difficult to gauge the actual value that goes into picking a player, Jhye Richardson, we felt that, he could obviously support Mohammed Shami, our lead bowler, and if you can get someone bowling in difficult periods, like the powerplay, middle overs, and he's useful with the bat as well. 

“See, sometimes you sort of pick players from the auction looking at this year. But you may also want to keep your mind for the following year, as well. We don't know what the rules are going to be. I think it's important to keep that kind of a vision for the future as well. So we felt Jhye, with his ability to swing the ball at pace, will be able to pick up wickets in the powerplay and of course at the dead, so those two will certainly add a lot of value to the already, you know, good base attack that we have and the experience of Shami and Chris Jordan, along with all the Indian youngsters who have done exceptionally well in domestic cricket,” he added.

“Last year, Arshdeep was really good for us. Ishan Porel and Darshan Nalkande have been really good at the domestic level. So we believe that we have a good bowling unit that we can sort of rotate and make sure that there are no skills we lack you know.”

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The new additions to the squad bring a fresh selection headache for Kumble and Co. in the IPL 2021 auction. With different venues to play the tournament in India, Punjab Kings would be looking to utilize their bench strength and maximize the skills of the players.

“Yeah, it is. It's a good thing to have (selection headache), as I said, Digvijay, it's all about having your options, not necessary that all of them will play all the matches. You know, it's very difficult to have that.

“What we needed was some experience in the all-round department, somebody who's played here before somebody who's been a part of winning teams. I mean, Moises brings that experience to the squad. Fabian, again is an exciting young all-rounder from West Indies, we all know, the power-hitting that they bring to the table and in this format, he's done exceptionally well is he's a young all-rounder. So it's nice to have him based on conditions obviously, you know, he's a very good left-hand spinner and then really hits the ball hard. And Dawid Malan brings experience and somebody who can sort of give support to the Indian batters that we have,” Kumble said.

“So we wanted a steady, someone who you can depend on. And then the firepower of Chris Gayle, Nicholas Pooran and Fabian Allen as a foreigner. Plus Moises and Dawid Malan sort of give you the comfort of you know them really free KL Rahul more so I think that's the kind of options that we wanted we're really glad that we got those. We also wanted a young Indian power-hitting batsman like a Shahrukh Khan. I'm really excited as he really hits the ball hard and it's good to have him as well in the squad. Like I mentioned it's all about having all bases covered and I think we have a pretty strong you know squat to choose from,” the former India captain and also the head of ICC’s Cricket Committee concluded.

Punjab Kings start their IPL 2021 campaign against Rajasthan Royals on April 12 at the MA Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai.

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