The Indian Premier League is all set to step into a landmark 10th season beginning from the 5th of April 2017. The cash-rich league has emerged as one of the most anticipated tournaments in the world for the sheer talent and entertainment that it brings out to the masses.
The IPL, which began in 2008 has laid out the ideal platform for emerging talents in India apart from bringing in different cultures and giving youngsters a chance to mingle with their idols.
Over the history of the IPL, many players have earned a name for themselves and have rebooted their careers through consistent performances in the IPL. In addition to this, there are some players who have plied their trade in the IPL and have also chosen to mentor/coach a particular team following their retirement.
Here, we take a look at some of these players who have donned the coach/mentor’s role after their IPL career.
#10 Brett Lee
Played for – Kings XI Punjab (2008-2010), Kolkata Knight Riders (2011-2013)
Mentored – Kolkata Knight Riders (2013)
Fast and destructive with the ball in hand, Brett Lee was grabbed by the Kings XI Punjab in the inaugural season for a whopping sum of USD$900,000 but featured in only four matches, picking up 4 wickets.
In 2009, he featured in only five games with his best performance coming against Kolkata Knight Riders where he picked 3 wickets. However, 2010 was his worst as he went wicket-less from the four games he played and was thrashed all over the park to end with a rather poor economy of 10.27.
After a poor season, Lee was released by the Kings XI Punjab and was bought by the Kolkata Knight Riders for whom he played three seasons from 2011-2013.
In 2013, when he was still KKR’s premier pacer, he took up the bowling mentor’s role after a vacancy came about following Wasim Akram's choice to take a one-year break.
#9 Stephen Fleming
Played for – Chennai Super Kings (2008)
Coached – Chennai Super Kings (2008-2015), Rising Pune Supergiant (2016-present)
Arguably one of New Zealand’s most successful captains and best batsmen to have represented the country, the left-hander was roped in by the Chennai Super Kings in 2008 for US$350,000 and went on to play 10 matches, with an average of 21.77 and a top score of 45 against RCB.
In 2009, Fleming shifted roles and settled into the role of CSK’s coach which he fulfilled to perfection as CSK went on to clinch the IPL 2010 and 2011 seasons, in addition to the Champions League T20 championship in 2010.
In 2016, following the ban of CSK for a period of two years, Fleming was roped in as the coach of the Rising Pune Supergiant, skippered by MS Dhoni. However, RPS endured a horrific year plagued by injuries to star players and finished the season in second-last place.
This season, Fleming will continue as RPS’s coach under newly appointed skipper, Steven Smith.
#8 Darren Lehmann
Played for – Rajasthan Royals (2008)
Coached – Deccan Chargers (2009-2012), Kings XI Punjab (2013)
In Australia’s national cricket team, Darren Lehmann was a sporadic yet effective player in Tests with his gifted all-round skills. Lehmann was a constant figure in the Australian ODI squad and was always a member of the World Cup-winning squads of 1999 and 2003.
In 2008, he was called up as a cover in the Rajasthan Royals squad for Graeme Smith, who was set to miss the first two to three matches. Lehmann played just two matches for Rajasthan, scoring 1 and 17 against Delhi Daredevils and Kings XI Punjab, respectively, before he made way for the return of Graeme Smith into the squad.
In 2009, Lehmann replaced Robin Singh as the coach of the now defunct Deccan Chargers after a horrific first season when they finished last. Under his guidance, Deccan Chargers put up an exhilarating performance and went on to win the IPL 2009 season.
After the Charger’s termination in 2013, Lehmann was picked to coach the Kings XI Punjab but could not make a lasting impact as the team failed to qualify for the playoffs yet again, finishing in 6th place.
#7 Shaun Pollock
Played for – Mumbai Indians (2008)
Coached – Mumbai Indians (2009-2012)
A gifted player who was equally effective with the bat and ball, South-African Shaun Pollock’s all-round ability made him stand out amongst the crowd of cricketers in his generation.
Following his retirement from international cricket, Pollock was bought by the Mumbai Indians for USD$550,000. In the 13 matches he featured for the side, the pacer picked up 11 wickets at a healthy economy of 6.54 apart from playing the pinch-hitter's role on some occasions to end with 147 runs from eight innings and a strike rate of 132.43.
In Sachin Tendulkar’s absence from the squad, Pollock captained the side on a couple of occasions as well.
After retiring from the game, Pollock served as the full-time mentor-cum-bowling coach of the Mumbai Indians from 2009 and forged an important alliance with Robin Singh before Anil Kumble took over from Pollock in 2013.
#6 Jacques Kallis
Played for – Royal Challengers Bangalore (2008-2010), Kolkata Knight Riders (2011-2014)
Coached – Kolkata Knight Riders (2015-present)
One of the best all-rounders to have played the game, Jacques Kallis formed an intrinsic part of the South African national team.
With enormous experience under his belt, Kallis was snapped up by the Royal Challengers Bangalore for a whopping sum of USD$900,000 but could not cause a lasting impact, scoring just 199 runs and picking up four wickets from eleven games. The next two seasons saw an improved performance by the burly South African, particularly in 2010 when he emerged as the tournament’s second highest run-scorer with 572 runs from 16 matches at an average of 47.76 coupled with 13 wickets in the season.
Surprisingly the next year, he was released by RCB and was picked by KKR for USD$1.1 million. In 2011 and 2012, Kallis crossed the 400-run mark and picked wickets at regular intervals and was an integral part of KKR’s maiden title victory in 2012, forging important partnerships with Gautam Gambhir at the top of the order.
Ahead of the 2014 season, Kallis was sent back into the pool of players after a rather disappointing 2013 season but was bought back by KKR the same year for a sum of USD$916,000. However, he could not find form and was dropped.
The following year, Kallis was given an opportunity to essay the role of the team’s mentor cum batting consultant and formed an alliance with head coach Trevor Bayliss, Wasim Akram and Vijay Dahiya. Subsequently, in 2016, Kallis was given the duties of head coach and will play the same role this year
#5 Muttiah Muralitharan
Played for – Chennai Super Kings (2008-2010), Kochi Tuskers Kerala (2011), Royal Challengers Bangalore (2012-2014)
Coached – Sunrisers Hyderabad (2015-present)
Considering his fantastic exploits in the game, Muralitharan was bought by the Chennai Super Kings in 2008 for USD$600,000. Although he was economical throughout the first season, Murali shone brightly in IPL 2 and IPL 3, picking 14 and 15 wickets respectively with a meagre economy.
Ahead of the 2011 season, Murali was released into the auction pool and was snapped up by the now-defunct Kochi Tuskers Kerala where he endured a horrific run, claiming just two wickets from five matches.
In 2012, the Royal Challengers Bangalore opted for his services at a price of USD$220,000 against his base price of USD$200,000 and the wily spinner enjoyed a fabulous run by picking up 15 wickets in 10 matches at a frugal economy of 6.50. However, his form declined over the next two years and played his last IPL game for RCB against KKR in 2014.
In 2015, Muralitharan took up the role of Sunrisers Hyderabad’s bowling coach and team mentor, and will continue to play the same role for the 2017 season as well.
#4 Anil Kumble
Played for – Royal Challengers Bangalore (2008-2011)
Coached – Royal Challengers Bangalore (2011-2012 [Mentor]), Mumbai Indians (2013-2015)
For IPL 2008, Kumble was roped in by the Royal Challengers Bangalore side for USD$500,000 on a three-year contract. In the inaugural season, the current India coach did not perform up to expectations and picked just 7 wickets from the 10 games he played.
In the following season, Kumble took over the captaincy duties from Kevin Pietersen which seemed to work wonders as the spinner led RCB to the season finale and also ended the season as the second-highest wicket taker with 21 scalps from 16 matches. The leggie continued his form into the third season as well and with 17 scalps from 16 matches, he emerged as the second-highest wicket taker yet again although RCB did not clinch the trophy.
After his contract with RCB expired in 2010, Kumble withdrew from the IPL auction for the fourth season citing personal reasons but continued his association with RCB as a mentor and advisor.
In 2013, Kumble shifted sides to join MI as head coach and under his able guidance, MI went on to clinch their maiden title victory in 2013 along with the Champions Trophy and were the IPL champions again in 2015. Last year, he stepped down from the post after being appointed as the head coach of the Indian team.
#3 Ricky Ponting
Played for – Kolkata Knight Riders (2008), Mumbai Indians (2013)
Coached – Mumbai Indians (2015-2017)
After a successful World Cup campaign in 2007, Ponting was bought by the Kolkata Knight Riders for USD$400,000. However, the Australian endured a tough year with the bat, averaging just 9.75 from the four matches he played. After a break, Ponting returned for IPL 2013 and was asked to captain MI.
It was not a fairytale run for Ponting and after six matches at an average of just over 10, he selflessly decided to step down, a move that paid rich dividends as MI went on to clinch their maiden IPL title that year.
In 2014, Ponting toured with the team as an advisor until he became the head coach of the MI setup, taking over from John Wright in 2015. Under his able wings, MI went on to clinch their second IPL trophy. However, it was announced that for the upcoming 2017 season, Mahela Jayawardena would be taking over as the head coach of MI.
#2 Rahul Dravid
Played for – Royal Challengers Bangalore (2008-2010), Rajasthan Royals (2011-2013)
Mentor – Rajasthan Royals (2014), Delhi Daredevils (2016-present)
In 2008, Rahul Dravid was drafted into the RCB squad as an ‘Icon’ player and was also the captain of the squad. However, a disappointing performance from RCB saw Dravid being sacked from captaincy even though he performed reasonably well, individually.
Three years later, in 2011, Dravid was back in the auction pool and was picked by Rajasthan Royals for USD$550,000 and made runs consistently for them, maintaining an average of above 25 although his strike-rate wasn't the greatest.
After hanging up his boots in 2013, Dravid essayed the role of team director-cum mentor at RR in 2014 before the team got banned for a period of two years. In 2016, Dravid took up the role of the team mentor at Delhi Daredevils along with Paddy Upton, who was to serve as head coach.
Since Dravid joined the team, many youngsters claimed to have improved their game.
#1 Sachin Tendulkar
Played for – Mumbai Indians (2008-2013)
Mentor – Mumbai Indians (2014-present)
One of the only players to have played for only one team in IPL, Tendulkar was assigned as the ‘Icon player’ for Mumbai but missed a majority of the initial season because of injury. In 2009, the Little Master played all matches and returned with a modest 364 runs from 13 matches in MI’s disappointing seventh place finish.
IPL 2010 was the breakthrough year for Tendulkar, as he pulverised attacks with ease, leading MI to it's first final and claimed the orange cap that season with 618 runs from 15 matches.
The Mumbaikar continued his fine form into the 2011 season where he led Mumbai's surge at the top of the order and finished the season with 553 runs from 16 matches although MI could not win the trophy. In the subsequent years, Sachin continued to feature at the top of the order but could not carry his form throughout and after the 2013 title victory, he retired from the IPL.
Soon enough, in 2014, Tendulkar found himself in Mumbai colours albeit this time he was watching from the sidelines as MI’s mentor. Although the legend quit playing in the IPL, he assumed the role of MI’s mentor and brand ambassador in 2014 and will continue to serve the same role this season as well.