The Bangalore Royal Challengers will decide whether Anil Kumble or Kevin Pietersen will captain the Indian Premier League (IPL) franchise in October's Champions League. Under leg-spinner Kumble's leadership, the Royal Challengers reached the IPL final where they eventually lost to Deccan Chargers by six runs in Johannesburg. Pietersen was named the captain for the first six matches, while Jacques Kallis was tipped to take over when the former England captain left for the Test series against the West Indies.
Batsman Pietersen presided over four defeats in the first six matches until Kumble, who was unexpectedly handed the captaincy, sparked a turnaround. The run helped the team qualify for the inaugural Champions League which will be held in India from Oct 8 to 23. "In terms of the team for the Champions League we will work on that and choose the best combination," Kumble said. "I think everyone would be available for the tournament because there isn't any international cricket scheduled during that time.
"Kevin would be back and we would have to make a call on who would be captain because he was announced the Royal Challengers' captain." The Champions League features 12 teams - the top three from the IPL, the top two domestic T20 teams from South Africa, England, Australia and one team each from New Zealand, West Indies and Sri Lanka. Kumble, who returned to his hometown Bangalore yesterday, acknowledged that the conditions in South Africa had played a major part in the team's performance, but believed he was prepared for the challenge the Champions League offered.
"There is pressure in every game and in international cricket you deal with pressure day in and day out whether you are playing at home or abroad," he added. Meanwhile, Pakistan all-rounder Shahid Afridi has said Adam Gilchrist's leadership was the key to the Chargers' IPL triumph. Afridi was involved in a spat with former captain VVS Laxman last year after the team finished at the bottom of the table.
Afridi, who backed Gilchrist's appointment as the leader, had said Laxman was not suited for the Twenty20 format. "Laxman was a defensive captain and it was only fitting that the management made Gilchrist the captain this year," Afridi said. * Agencies