Lakshmipathy Balaji remains associated with the Tamil Nadu team as its bowling coach © Getty Images
Lakshmipathy Balaji remains associated with the Tamil Nadu team as its bowling coach © Getty Images

Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) on Tuesday named former India pacer Lakshmipathy Balaji as their bowling coach ahead of the 2017 Indian Premier League (IPL). Balaji, who retired from First-Class cricket in September 2016, remains associated with the Tamil Nadu team as its bowling coach. He was an integral part of KKR s bowling line-up from 2011 to 2013, and contributed to the team s victorious campaign in 2012. Making the announcement, KKR CEO said: “It’s great to welcome Bala back to the KKR family. He was an integral part of KKR from 2011-13 and played a key role in helping KKR win the championship in 2012″. Commenting on his new role as bowling coach of KKR, Balaji said: “I had thoroughly enjoyed my stint as a player for KKR and I am delighted to be back to the franchise that I have admired”.

Meanwhile, Balaji was surprised at the frequency with which the ball was changed on the first day of their semi-final clash against title-holders Mumbai in ongoing Ranji Trophy 2016-17 season. It was replaced three times inside the first two sessions and Balaji stated it disturbed the momentum of both batsmen and bowlers. Mumbai’s coach Chandrakant Pandit also came out in support of Balaji’s remarks and said it was an issue that needed to be taken seriously.

Tamil Nadu ended Day One on 261 for 6 as Mumbai pulled things back with late wickets going into stumps. The second semi-final is being played at Nagpur where Jharkhand is pitted against Gujarat. “During the game, batting or bowling can lose the grip because of a sudden change [of the ball]. I think most of the coaches had discussed that in the last coaches and captains [conclave],” said Pandit.