Karnataka coach J Arunkumar has been named Kings XI Punjab's batting coach for the 2017 IPL season. This will be his maiden coaching stint with an IPL franchise. Arunkumar, 42, said he had been in discussions with Virender Sehwag, Kings XI's head of cricket operations and strategy, for over a month before his appointment was confirmed.
"[The discussions were going on] for over a month before I got a call officially and things fell in place," Arunkumar told ESPNcricinfo. "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, a former team-mate at Indian Airlines, 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."
Arunkumar, a former Karnataka batsman who scored 7208 runs in first-class cricket, is among the most successful coaches in domestic cricket. He coached Karnataka to the treble of domestic titles - Ranji Trophy, Vijay Hazare Trophy and Irani Cup - for two years in succession in 2013-14 and 2014-15. While Karnataka lost to Tamil Nadu in the quarter-finals of the Ranji Trophy this season, they finished on top of the Inter-State T20 League's south zone table.
Kings XI go into this year's IPL having finished bottom in 2015 and 2016. They have kept faith in the core of the squad though, releasing only four out of 23 players during the transfer window last December.