Dubai: The pace attack of Kolkata Knight Riders, 2012 IPL champions, may be left feeling “orphaned” when they start their campaign in IPL 6 in April-May. Wasim Akram, their bowling coach and mentor, will not be available for the upcoming season as he wishes to spend more time with his family.
A statement in the KKR website says Akram, who had been a key member of the team’s dugout for the last three seasons, is believed to be keen to spend more time for his sons Taimur and Akbar who are barely in their teens. Akram’s wife Huma had passed away after a brief illness in 2009.
Venky Mysore, the CEO of KKR, said: “Wasim Akram will be badly missed. He is a legend and a great motivator to have around the team. However, we fully appreciate the reasons why he will be unavailable. We hope this break will give him the much needed time to be with his family. We hope to work with him in the future.”
The “Sultan of Swing”, as Akram is referred to, had been a part of the team since 2010 and has played a mentor’s role in the real sense of the term in grooming the team’s bowlers — teaching them the nuances of their craft and the art of surviving in Twenty-20 cricket. Sami, who made his international debut in the mini series against Pakistan in December, has acknowledged the influence Akram has had on his growth as a bowler.
The KKR management, meanwhile, has decided against naming any replacement for Akram and hope that the legend may be in a position to join the team should they qualify for the Champions League T-20 later in the year. The team, according to sources, will be giving veteran allrounder Jacques Kallis the additional role of guiding the fast bowlers.
In a significant addition, Trevor Penney — Indian team’s fielding coach — has been appointed in the same role as part of the support staff under head coach Trevor Bayliss. “We are delighted that Penney will join the excellent support staff of KKR comprising head coach Bayliss, assistant coach Vijay Dahiya, Physio Andrew Leipus, strength trainer Adrian Le Roux and analyst A.R. Srikkanth. Penney is a fine professional and will no doubt add to the depth of the team,” Mysore said on the club website.