Excited to be associated with Kings XI, says J.Arunkumar

J. Arunkumar was appointed as the batting coach for King’s XI Punjab and the former Karnataka skipper felt glad that Sehwag remembered him, and also broke the news about his selection.

Arunkumar also felt Sehwag's influence in the dressing room could be positive for the team.   -  Akhilesh Kumar

J. Arunkumar was appointed as the batting coach for King’s XI Punjab. “I just signed up today. I am very excited about being associated with the Kings XI Punjab. It is a team that has had its ups and downs but I firmly believe that if the squad stays united and performs its tasks, then the Kings XI will be formidable opponent,” Arunkumar told Sportstar.

The former Karnataka skipper and opener, has been a key figure in the State team’s support staff – first as batting coach and now as a full-fledged coach. He and the side tasted success too, be it the Ranji Trophy or the recent Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy Twenty 20 tournament's South Zone leg at Chennai. Arunkumar hopes to replicate that with Kings XI in the Indian Premier League too.

For the record, Kings XI had only two relatively better seasons in the IPL, being a semifinalist in the inaugural edition during 2008 and runners-up in 2014. The rest have been forgettable outings. Arunkumar is optimistic that he and the rest of the support-staff can reverse that trend. He is counting on team mentor Virender Sehwag to wield a tremendous influence.

Explaining his selection by the Kings XI, Arunkumar said: “My last link with the IPL was when I initially turned out as a player for Royal Challengers Bangalore. In the last few years I have been keeping a watch on all teams, have approached a few for coaching roles. I did speak to V.V.S. Laxman with regard to the Sunrisers Hyderabad. I spoke to Viru (Sehwag) last year and I am glad he kept me in mind and it was he who broke the news about my selection. He is an optimist and will surely wield a positive influence on the team.”

Arunkumar’s immediate concern is the IPL player auction here on February 20. “We need to get a good mix of players like all-rounders, smart bowlers and aggressive batsmen,” he said.

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