Anil Kumble is the best available, isn’t it?

Anil Kumble

Mumbai: The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) appointed Anil Kumble as the new head coach of Indian team for the next one year. The decision was taken by the cricket governing body in consultation with Cricket Advisory Committee (CAC) which comprises of Sachin Tendulkar, Sourav Ganguly and VVS Laxman. The decision raised some eyebrows but it was on expected lines. There were 21 candidates who made it to the final cut with Kumble notching up the top job.

The former India captain doesn’t have any coaching experience either at first class level or with any of the IPL franchises, but what he had in his kitty was mentoring a world class team along with few friends and then having a ball in the cash-rich IPL. Kumble will be the first one to admit that he is totally new to the role of coaching an International side. The main job of a coach is to get the best out of his players, motivate them and help them make better cricketers. Anil wasn’t as talented as Shane Warne or didn’t have any mysteries that Muttiah Muralitharan had but he ended up as the third highest wicket taker in the history of test cricket with 619 wickets because he worked hard and knew his limitations. Anil played the game for over 18 years at the highest level and you cannot buy that experience.

Indian team which is going through the transition needed someone like Kumble who can guide them, mould them and make them realise the worth of the Indian cap. Anil Kumble will be an immense help to the likes of Ravichandran Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja and Amit Mishra. Test match is the purest form of the game and you need 20 wickets to win a Test. Kumble can be instrumental in bringing out the best of Ishant Sharma, Umesh Yadav and Varun Aaron who all have all the talent in the world but they just need that self belief and confidence to perform and win matches for India.

Virat Kohli and Ravi Shastri gelled well together because they had the same vision and philosophy. You can play attacking cricket and nothing wrong with it but sometimes you have to play according to the situation of the game as well. Anil will Challenge Kohli and it is the job of a coach to sometimes disagree or have a different viewpoint. Virat Kohli’s aggression and Kumble’s calmness put together could do wonders for team India. A coach cannot be a cheerleader of captain and has to think what‘s best for the team. Kumble has backed Virat Kohli’s attacking instincts and said that he will not curb them but it has to be controlled and channelized properly.

Anil Kumble is a gentleman and he lead by example. He was the captain when ‘Monkey gate’ happened and the way he handled the situation was exemplary. He was the man who bowled with a broken jaw and got the prized wicket of Brian Lara at Antigua in 2002. Anil Kumble could have played for much longer but he retired on his own terms when he knew that he was not contributing or making a difference to the team. Anil has done the hard yards and he will bring professionalism and accountability to the job.

Anil Kumble has an image of being a taskmaster and hard disciplinarian but he has encouraged players to express themselves and have fun at the same time. Anil has reintroduced the buddy programme that was there during John Wright’s regime.  Senior player is paired with a Junior player and they have to help each other out and improve each others  game. Kumble has also invited acclaimed actor-musician Vasundhara Das’ group ‘Drumjam’.

Indian team bonding session at Bangalore; image source: XtraTime

Indian team bonding session at Bangalore; image source: XtraTime

The idea behind this is to enjoy drums and take the pressure of stress, transcending barriers, team building, communicating and harmony. Kumble also had a brainstorming session with MS Dhoni, Rahul Dravid and other stakeholders of the game. He wants to take Indian team to the next level by trying innovative methods like yoga and also through hard work and not losing out on the fun part because at the end of the day you have to enjoy and love the game that you are passionate about.

Anil Kumble has a vision for team India when they travel overseas and winning overseas has been an Achilles heel for team India. Anil will get the best out of players and has already said that captain will run the team and he will do his work and stay in the background.

Indian cricket is lucky to have someone like Kumble who can pass on his experience and knowledge to the next generation. Indian team will be playing 17 test matches in upcoming nine months and after that we can make a judgement about Kumble’s appointment as a coach was a masterstroke or a blunder.



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