5 players who blossomed under Anil Kumble
When Anil Kumble was appointed as the Head Coach of the national team, there was genuine excitement as to what the new alliance entailed for Indian cricket. As the months progressed, it seemed more and more likely that India would scale new heights.
And why not? The team were exuberant whenever they stepped onto the field. Consequently, their game and the results, both were emphatic. It seemed like a match made in heaven – Virat Kohli, the captain, who hates losing more than he loves winning, and Kumble, the coach, who had shown pretty much the same passion as the incumbent captain.
The players flourished, and as would become a regularity, Kumble would often be found on the balcony, taking pictures of a victorious team. But all good things must come to an end and so did this one as Kumble resigned following weeks of speculation in the media about his future.
As Harsha Bhogle once said, “You judge coaches on whether players grew under them or not”. Anil Kumble certainly ticked this box.
Here are five players who blossomed under him.
#1 Cheteshwar Pujara
During his tenure, Kumble’s biggest achievement was, perhaps, the reinvention of Cheteshwar Pujara. The Saurashtra batsman was always consistent in Test cricket, his tenacity and composure were never in doubt. However, it was his low strike rate that was criticised by many.
Kumble, though, realised how big an asset Pujara could be for the team in the longer format of the game. He persisted with the 29-year-old at No. 3 and let him play his natural game and anchor the innings – a role not much different from Rahul Dravid’s from Kumble’s playing days.
While the rejuvenated Pujara did up his scoring rate by a considerable margin, his ability to absorb pressure at certain stages of the game was what stood out. Under Kumble, he amassed a total of 1378 runs at an average of 62.63 – a statistic that proves how much he thrived during this time.