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Indian Premier League 2021

The legends in the dugouts – Wisden’s IPL support staff XI

IPL support staff
by Wisden Staff 3 minute read

Presenting a line-up of cricketing greats from the support staff of teams in IPL 2021, who were all superstars of the game during their playing time and would have made a dream XI if they played together.

A star-studded coaching line-up has become a norm in the IPL – teams often pack their rosters with the who’s who of the game, ensuring they have all resources in place to provide knowledge and insight to the current cohort of players.

Notable omissions: Stephen Fleming, Andy Flower, Jonty Rhodes, VVS Laxman

Brendon McCullum (wk)

Head coach, Kolkata Knight Riders

McCullum revolutionised modern-day big-hitting in his own way, and fits right into this XI as well, with the bonus of being a wicketkeeper. Having retired from all cricket in 2019, he became Kolkata Knight Riders’ head coach later that year and has held that position since.

Sachin Tendulkar

Icon, Mumbai Indians

The heartbeat of Indian cricket in the 1990s and 2000s, Tendulkar was a crowd-puller in the IPL as well, scoring 2,334 runs across six years, all for Mumbai Indians. He continued to stay associated with the franchise, and in 2014, was named the team’s ‘icon’.

Ricky Ponting (c)

Head coach, Delhi Capitals

One of the greatest batting captains of all time, Ponting is a name that continues to reverberate among cricketing circles as one of the sport’s sharpest brains. After playing a season each for KKR and MI, Ponting became Mumbai’s head coach and then turned to Delhi to nurture their brand of young, aggressive cricket. He fits right in at No.3.

Kumar Sangakkara

Director of cricket, Rajasthan Royals

One of the newest members of the IPL coaching bandwagon, Sangakkara remains a highly-respected figure in the game. A former IPL captain who played six seasons of the tournament, the Sri Lanka legend became Royals’ team director ahead of IPL 2021, joining forces with skipper Sanju Samson to herald a new era.

Mahela Jayawardene

Head coach, Mumbai Indians

If Sangakkara is around, Jayawardene can’t be far away. One of the most iconic batting pairs in history are pitted against each other in the IPL, with Jayawardene at the helm of Mumbai’s recent domination in the tournament. A delightful batsman to watch in his prime, Jayawardene became MI’s top boss ahead of IPL 2017; the team has won three out of four titles since.

Michael Hussey

Batting coach, Chennai Super Kings

A middle-order phenom in his playing days, Hussey epitomised versatility, excelling for Australia irrespective of the format. After representing the franchise during his playing days (2008-2013, 2015), Hussey was roped in as batting coach in early 2018. Not many names can displace him at No.6.

Tom Moody

Director of operations, Sunrisers Hyderabad

Filling the all-rounder quota in the team, and providing additional muscle is the tall all-rounder from South Australia, who has been instrumental in Hyderabad’s success over the years as coach. A calm, thinking presence in the dugout, Moody was their head coach until 2019, helping them reach the playoffs in five out of seven seasons, before re-joining them in a new role this time.

Anil Kumble

Head coach, Punjab Kings

India’s leading wicket-taker in international cricket (by a country mile), Kumble was a dominant force across formats, right throughout his two decades of top-flight cricket. A thinking cricketer, Kumble naturally progressed into coaching (including the Indian team) and was named Punjab’s head coach for IPL 2020, where he has continued since.

Zaheer Khan

Director of cricket, Mumbai Indians

Carrying a wealth of playing experience, along with deep knowledge of bowling in Indian conditions, Zaheer re-integrated into the MI family after three seasons (2009, 2010, 2014) as a player for the franchise. In 2018, he was named Mumbai’s bowling coach, and forms one-half of a potent fast-bowling unit in this attack.

Shane Bond

Bowling coach, Mumbai Indians

His international career was relatively short, but Shane Bond was still a force to reckon with, forging his reputation as one of the quickest bowlers of the modern era. In 2016, he became a part of the MI team as bowling coach, helping hone the skills of the franchise’s seam attack, including the likes of Jasprit Bumrah and Hardik Pandya. Also makes an incisive left-right combo with Zaheer.

Muttiah Muralitharan

Bowling coach, Sunrisers Hyderabad

The most successful spinner in cricket history, Muralitharan inspired many youngsters en route to a record-filled career and still continues to contribute to the game in coaching capacity with VVS Laxman in the SRH camp. Along with Kumble, he forms a dream spin pairing in this team.

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