Anil Kumble is hopeful that with reinforcements, his side will be able to correct the mistakes from the 2020 edition when it finished sixth. In a chat with Sportstar, he discussed the new signings and the role of pacers.
What are your thoughts on IPL’s return to India? Two bio-bubbles inside six months can be challenging…
We have got used to it. The players have gone through a few more bio-bubbles than us [coaches and support staff], so they are all used to it. It is good to play the IPL here in India.
Your thoughts on neutral venues…
Even last year, there was no home and away [in the United Arab Emirates]. All of us are playing equally spread out matches in four centres. Knowing [the conditions] in Bengaluru, Mumbai and Chennai helps. They are all known venues. The players know how these wickets are.
Plans with Dawid Malan…
It is good to have quality options in the squad. We wanted a solid batsman on whom we can rely on. Malan is a quality player and has the experience. I know he bats at the top of the order for England but he can bat anywhere. In Big Bash League, he has batted slightly lower. We also have a reliable all-rounder in Moises Henriques and an exciting talent in Fabian Allen along with the two exciting fast bowlers [Riley Meredith and Jhye Richardson]. We wanted to strengthen our batting middle order and the bowling department.
Thoughts on uncapped talent M. Shahrukh Khan…
We were looking at someone who could give us a bit of power-hitting in the lower middle-order. He has done that for Tamil Nadu in domestic cricket. He is a big guy and there is a presence about him in the middle.
Will pace play a major role considering Punjab Kings spent a lot on the fast bowlers?
I think in the smaller auctions, people tend to forget that the options are minimal. Every team wants to reinforce and fill the gaps and since the options are lesser, you tend to spend a lot more on the players. We wanted to have a squad which gives us options in case we want to rotate a few of our fast bowlers. It is a fairly long tournament and the conditions will be pretty hot.
What’s the update on Shami’s [wrist injury] recovery?
He is fine as far as I know. He is coming to the bio-bubble for the quarantine and he will be out in a few days. I know he hasn’t played any matches since his injury but he is good to go. We are really looking forward to him playing a few practice games and then getting ready for the first game.
What are the areas you are looking to improve?
We should have closed out a few games. We were in a winning position. Even in the five consecutive wins last year, we took it right till the end. The other area, of course, where we can do better is our death bowling. Ideally you would like to finish a game before getting to a Super Over. We have to practise around that as well but ideally, we don’t want to get into Super Overs. We had too many of those in the last season.