Veteran Mumbai and Vidarbha opener Wasim Jaffer has been appointed as the new batting coach of Indian Premier League franchise Kings XI Punjab. Although no official announcement has been made by the franchise, the batting coach position on their website has Jaffer’s name mentioned there.
Jaffer recently made his 150th appearance in India’s elite first-class tournament, the Ranji Trophy. Playing for Vidarbha, the opener played his 150th Ranji game against Andhra at the Devineni Venkata Ramana Praneetha Ground in Vijayawada.
The 41-year-old batsman, who played 31 Tests and two ODIs, however, was never quite able to make a name for himself as a player in the IPL. He played only eight matches for Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) in the inaugural edition of the IPL back in 2008 from which he scored just 130 runs at 16.25, at a strike rate of 107.44.
The Kings, who are one of the three teams to have never won the IPL, have completely revamped their support staff for the upcoming season. They have former Indian skipper Anil Kumble as head coach and South African great Jonty Rhodes as fielding coach. Kumble has replaced Mike Hesson, who in August parted ways with the franchise after one season with them.
“I’m thankful to Kumble. He’s the one who approached me. It was an honor to play under him for India. I’ve got so much to learn from him. Though I’m currently coaching in Bangladesh (he’s the batting coach at the Bangladesh Cricket Board academy), this is obviously a good opportunity, and I’m looking forward to this experience,” Jaffer was quoted as saying by Cricbuzz.
This year, the franchise will be captained by India’s limited-overs opener, KL Rahul. The Kings last reached the qualifiers of the tournament in 2014 and will be desperate to see a turnaround in their fortunes this time around.