Kings XI Punjab will be eager to turn the tables in IPL 2017 © IANS
Kings XI Punjab will be eager to turn the tables in IPL 2017 © IANS

Karnataka’s coach J Arunkumar has been elected as Kings XI Punjab‘s (KXIP) batting coach for the upcoming season of Indian Premier League (IPL). It will mark his maiden coaching stint with an IPL franchise, slated to begin from April 5, 2017. The 42-year-old veteran stated that he had been in talks with former India opener Virender Sehwag for more than a month before the deal finalised. Sehwag will be acting as KXIP’s head of cricket operations and strategy when IPL kicks off this season. On the other hand, KXIP come into another IPL season after finishing at the bottom in 2015 and 2016. Their core side remains as it is and will want a change of fortunes this year.  IPL 2017: Kings XI Punjab should aim for quality bowlers for IPL 10

“The discussions were going on for over a month before I got a call officially and things fell in place,” ESPNcricinfo quoted Arunkumar. “I had asked him last year to let me know if there was an opportunity (to do coaching). So, he called me up and offered this. It was very nice of him.”

Apart from Sehwag, Arunkumar will work alongside fielding coach R Sridhar. “We all look for growth and I am looking forward to interact with a lot of other coaches,” Arunkumar said. “It is a good learning curve for me. It is always good to interact with different heads and talk to the players. Sehwag and the franchise team are coming on the 19th for the IPL auctions; we will meet then and discuss the way forward. It is a whole new experience. It will take my coaching to a different level. I am looking forward to it”, told Arunkumar.

Arunkumar, a former Karnataka batsman, who amassed 7,208 runs in First-Class cricket, is among the most successful coaches in domestic front. He was the coach of Karnataka during their several triumphant campaigns. These include Ranji Trophy, Vijay Hazare Trophy and Irani Cup for two years in succession in 2013-14 and 2014-15. Karnataka lost to Tamil Nadu in the quarter-finals of the Ranji Trophy 2016-17, whereas Gujarat had the last laugh by bagging the title for the first time.