Former Australia pacer Brett Lee hopes Kings XI Punjab are able to go the distance this season of the IPL, and expects them to benefit from having someone of Anil Kumble’s stature as coach of the team. Kumble was appointed KXIP’s coach last October and with the experience of having coached the Indian cricket team for a year, Lee, a former player of the franchise, is hopeful of the former India leg-spinner making a big impact for the franchise.
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“Having someone like that (Anil Kumble) in terms of the mix of the team and certainly the squad will be invaluable. The knowledge, the experiences, will definitely help,” Lee said on the Cricket Connected Show on Star Sports.
Lee was with KXIP the first three seasons of the IPL and picked up nine wickets from 13 games, including a wicketless season in 2010. The franchise has struggled for consistency since the very beginning with their best performance coming in 2014, when they made the final against Kolkata Knight Riders but lost. They finished semi-finalists in the inaugural edition of the IPL but have thrice managed sixth and eighth place finishes.
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“Kings XI need to win, they have got a great squad, they have got a wonderful team that can definitely get close and close but they have not got over the line yet, so, I’m actually waiting for that to happen. A great franchise to play for, I put up my hand-up and say that was a lot of fun to play for that franchise,” Lee added.
“Having someone like @anilkumble1074 in the team is invaluable!” – @BrettLee_58
Can @lionsdenkxip reap the benefits of Jumbo’s wisdom? Join the discussion with Lee, @sanjaymanjrekar & @jatinsapru, tonight on #CricketConnected! pic.twitter.com/6fzhcmNvK8
— Star Sports (@StarSportsIndia) August 9, 2020
Lee weighed in on the safety protocols associated with the IPL – which is moving to the UAE this season – and expects the players to act responsibly in the Emirates. KXIP co-owner Ness Wadia highlighted how the entire focus should be on ensuring that not a single Covid-19 case is registered. As he rightfully pointed out, one positive Covid-19 case and the IPL will run the risk of getting cancelled altogether, an aspect that Lee touched upon.
“Firstly, for your health, the most important thing to do is to make sure you social distance and to make sure you adhere by the COVID standards, so I don’t reckon any player would want to go out and do the wrong thing. It’s also for their teams and their fans, because if the IPL didn’t happen, it would be a catastrophe, wouldn’t it? Around the world, people want to see cricket, they are missing sport,” Lee said.
“I believe that all sportsmen, certainly cricketers, will make sure that they do the right thing and that is playing by the rules, staying inside the bubble and just having fun and playing some great cricket. Look, it’s an eight to nine-week tournament, they are getting paid really, really well, they are putting on a great show for the world, so embrace the eight weeks.”