Ahead of the season, KXIP owners almost rebuild the squad and coaching group from the scratch. They made KL Rahul the captain and brought legendary Anil Kumble in coaching setup, making him head of operations. They also brought the likes of Nicholas Pooran and Glenn Maxwell in the auction to beef up the middle order and two overseas pacers in Sheldon Cottrell and Chris Jordan to address death bowling issues.
Though the Karnataka duo of KL Rahul and Anil Kumble did exceedingly well in their roles, the failure of their foreign recruits costed them a place in playoffs. After looking good but unlucky for initial three weeks in IPL 2020, the Punjab based outfit was all but out of the race for playoffs before inclusion of Universe Boss Chris Gayle turned another chapter in his record book.
After losing 6 of their first 7 matches, KXIP made a remarkable turnaround by winninng five consecutive matches. However, two consecutive losses in last two matches eliminated them from the playoffs.
With next season a few months away, KXIP management will again look to plug the holes and build a team around core players. A source linked to KXIP confirmed that management is happy with the Karnataka duo of Kumble and KL Rahul. KXIP skipper KL Rahul is undoubtedly the best batsman in IPL 2020. The right-hand batsman holds the orange cap with 670 runs in 14 matches at an average over 55.
“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.
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“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.
The source also added that the management is likely to release two of the costliest buys Glenn Maxwell (10.75 crore) and Sheldon Cottrell (8.5 crore) – both of whom failed to make any impact.
“Their performance was not on expected lines and it will be tough to continue with them,” the source added.