KXIP head coach Anil Kumble has stated that he has been able to spend more time this season with the younger players as opposed to previous editions where they met the players only 1 week before IPL. He added that they will have to come up with innovative ways to look into mental aspects of players.
Anil Kumble, who stepped down as Team India coach under awkward circumstances, is back in IPL is back in the coaching position as KXIP head coach. Previously he was involved with RCB and Mumbai Indians until 2015 when he decided to part ways with the Mumbai based franchise. However, this year’s assignment will be a tad different and challenging for him as this IPL will be India's first taste of cricket in Covid times and it will take more than just cricketing knowledge to manage the team.
Looking at the positives that have come out of this pandemic induced league, India’s highest wicket-taker stated that he has been able to spend more time with the youngsters in the squad as opposed to previous editions where the players joined the team just before the beginning of the league. He also revealed that KXIP has a team in India that looks after the mental health of players.
"Because of Covid, we got to spend a longer time with the team. This particular season, it’s given us an opportunity to spend a lot more time with the younger lot. Otherwise, you meet the players a week before the IPL," Kumble told TOI on Tuesday.
"We have been able to manage their quarantine really well. We had online sessions. We also have a team back in India which looks into the mental aspects. We have done a few team activities.”
This season, players will have to spend almost 84 days in the bio-bubble, which will be taxing on their mental health. All the franchises are aware of this and have been making arrangements for the players, keeping in mind their mental health. Sharing his opinions on these challenging circumstances, Kumble stressed the need to come up with innovative ways to engage with the team. He added that the support staff is focused on building a solid foundation for the youngsters in the team.
"This is new to us. We have to come up with innovative ways of engaging outside matches. So far, it’s been fine. The hotel we have chosen, we made sure there are separate areas for activities otherwise staying indoors will be a challenge."
"It’s not just about me as the head coach but also the other support staff. It’s not about just me imparting knowledge to the younger lot. Our intention is to help them in their careers and try and build a sort of a platform to maintain for the rest of their careers," he said.