The kickoff of the ‘La Decima’ season of the Indian Premier League (IPL) is four days away. The opening match of the edition is set to be played between defending champions Sunrisers Hyderabad and Royal Challengers Bangalore in the home ground of the former. For the next one and a half months, there will be the dose of sheer entertainment, a non-stop game of cricket and several heartbreaks as eventually, it will be one team that will go and lift the coveted trophy.
IPL is easily the most attended T20 league in the world and it is sixth among all sports’ leagues, making a mark for India on the higher stage. Since its inception in 2008, the IPL has been a platform for Indian domestic players to showcase their talent and come in the eyes of the Indian and First-Class selectors. They get a golden opportunity to share a dressing room with international cricketers and that itself is a massive learning for them.
Over the history of the IPL, there have been various cricketers who had the luxury of playing the game even after they had hung their boots from international cricket. There have been a couple of legends who not only played in the IPL but also coached their side at the same time. Some of the players have turned into a coach after they called quits even from the IPL.
Here are 6 legends who have continued to serve IPL with their role of coach/mentor after their IPL career:
Played for: Rajasthan Royals
Coached: Rajasthan Royals
The Australian legend will always have a special place in the history of IPL because he was the winning captain of the inaugural edition of the tournament. Warne-led Rajasthan Royals (RR) defeated MS Dhoni’s Chennai Super Kings (CSK) to lift the first IPL trophy in 2008. He coached and captained RR from 2008 till Rahul Dravid succeeded him as RR’s captain, mentor and head coach in 2012.
Played for: Deccan Chargers, Kings XI Punjab
Coached: Kings XI Punjab
The Australian legend was roped in by Deccan Chargers (DC) in the first season of IPL. He had replaced VVS Laxman as DC’s captain in the second season and under his leadership, DC became the champions in 2009. After Warne, Gilchrist became the second Australian IPL winning skipper.
In the fourth season in 2011, he was bought by Kings XI Punjab for US$900,000 and immediately was named the captain. In March 2012, he was given the role of “player-coach” when he replaced his friend and former Australia teammate Michael Bevan, whose contract as head coach was not renewed.
Played for Kings XI Punjab, Kolkata Knight Riders
Bowling mentor: Kolkata Knight Riders
In the premier edition of IPL, Lee was bought by Punjab for an enormous price of USD$900,000 but sadly, he featured in only four matches, where he picked up four wickets. That was followed by another poor show in the 2009 IPL. He was given only five games. However, his worst performance waited in 2010 where he went wicket-less, having played four matches.
There were no surprises when Punjab decided to release him. He was roped in by Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) and he represented them from 2011 to 2013. In 2013, he was still KKR’s spearhead; he was given the bowling mentor’s responsibility because Wasim Akram’s chose to take a one-year break.
Played for: Royal Challengers Bangalore, Rajasthan Royals
Coached/ mentored: Rajasthan Royals, Delhi Daredevils
Dravid commenced his IPL career with Bangalore-based franchise, RCB. He was their key player in all the seasons he represented them and also captained the side in 2008 before he was replaced by Kevin Pietersen.
Dravid moved to RR in 2011 and in the second season with the team, he replaced Warne and RR’s captain and coach. After his retirement, he remained RR’s mentor before Delhi Daredevils picked him for the same role when RR’s dissolved for two years prior to 2016 IPL. He continues to guide the young bunch from DD.
Played for: Delhi Daredevils, Royal Challengers Bangalore
Coached: Royal Challengers Bangalore
The former New Zealander is one of the greatest names in cricket and he began his IPL career with Delhi Daredevils (DD) in 2008. He was associated with them for a couple of seasons before he was named RCB’s captain in 2011. He led the side in two seasons before he ended his playing career in 2015 and was named the head coach of RCB.
Played for: Chennai Super Kings, Kochi Tuskers Kerala, Royal Challengers Bangalore
Spin bowling coach: Sunrisers Hyderabad
The spin legend took off his IPL career with Chennai-based CSK. He played under MS Dhoni for the first two seasons before he was bought by Kochi Tuskers in 2011. He even played for Bangalore from 2012 to 2014. After having appeared in 66 IPL games, Sunrisers named him as their bowling coach in 2015. He joined the coaching staff that included Tom Moddy, VVS Laxman and Simon Helmot. The very next season in 2016, these legends faced their major success when Hyderabad, led by Australian David Warner, lifted their first trophy.
Played for Kolkata Knight Riders, Mumbai Indians
Coached: Mumbai Indians
The Australian great only played 10 IPL matches across two seasons for different teams. He started his IPL career in 2008 witth KKR, but he could only feature in four games before he had to return as national duty awaited him. He made a comeback in the T20 league in 2013. He captained MI in six games before Rohit Sharma replaced him. The current MI’s head coach, Ponting, was given the role in 2015, replacing Anil Kumble.