Kings XI Punjab have appointed Brad Hodge, the former Australia batsman, as their new head coach. Hodge, who held a similar role with Gujarat Lions for the last two seasons, will report to Virender Sehwag, the franchise’s mentor-cum director of cricket.
The head coach’s job was informally held by Sehwag after Sanjay Bangar resigned in December 2016. Kings XI had a mixed 2017 season, where they were in the reckoning for the play-offs until they lost to Rising Pune Supergiant, the runners-up, in their final league match.
At 42, Hodge continues to still feature as an active player and will be playing for Melbourne Renegades in the 2017-18 Big Bash League. Being a contemporary Twenty20 player with an impressive body of work, Hodge is also known for his tactical nous and has consistently been sought after in domestic T20 tournaments around the world.
In his first year as coach at Gujarat Lions, Hodge helped the franchise finish with the most number of wins at the end of the group phase. Unfortunately, it was not a fairy tale for Gujarat, who were knocked out of the Qualifier 2 by eventual champions Sunrisers Hyderabad.
Disappointingly, Hodge was left frustrated in IPL 2017 as injuries to marquee players like Dwayne Bravo and lack of quality replacements meant Gujarat finished second from bottom.
However, a new franchise now presents him with a new challenge with Ness Wadia, one of the co-owners of Kings XI, wanting him to build the team. “We have signed a three-year agreement with Brad, who will be our head coach,” Wadia said. “Viru [Sehwag] will be actively involved, too, as our director of cricket.”
Wadia also said the franchise would invest in creating a stable set-up now that the team had started to make operational profits. “We really see that after 10 (tenth season), now that more money is coming, now that the model is bringing in operational income and profit we can build a proper franchise. We are hopeful of taking things forward and get the best team possible.”
Nagraj Gollapudi is a senior assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo
ESPN Sports Media Ltd.