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Anil Kumble reintroduces 'buddy system' to train the team

The philosophy applied here aims to integrate individual players into a team.

Anil Kumble
Coach Anil Kumble seeks to improve communication between players (Photo: Indian Express)

It seems that Anil Kumble has already started doing a good job of implementing his short term plans for the betterment of the Indian Cricket Team. In fact, even when he took over, Kumble had made it a point to appreciate the massive contributions towards building the team that his predecessors had before him. One of the people he mentioned was John Wright, a prolific coach under whom cricket in India flourished.

Reports suggest that Kumble has already reintroduced a method tried and tested by Wright; the “buddy system”. The idea behind the practice is to divide the players up in teams of two; usually pairing a batsman with a bowler or a batsman with an all rounder and encouraging them to help out each other in specific departments so as to ensure a complete and all round development of all players. 

Also read: Anil Kumble: First interactions with the Indian cricket team on Twitter 

This tactic was first introduced by Wright before the 2001 series against Australia. A famous “buddy pair” to emerge out of this system was the indomitable pair of VVS Laxman and Zaheer Khan where the former became the latter's unofficial batting coach. Kumble has tried to establish something similar assigning partnerships like Shikhar Dhawan and Mohammad Shami and another partnership of Virat Kohli and bowler Bhuvaneshwar Kumar.

It’s about helping each other through situations: Binny

Stuart Binny spoke to Cricinfo regarding his experiences of working under the new head coach of the team. He has been paired up with opener Rohit Sharma. Most often, particularly in Tests, these two players have often targeted similar positions in the team and it has usually ended up as a choice between one or the other depending on what the playing conditions require.

Talking about this, Binny said, “So it's me and Rohit [Sharma] paired up together. Ro has played a lot of one-day cricket and Test cricket, and for me to share thoughts with him, that's the way forward, I think. If I can help Rohit by 2%, then maybe he can help me with 30% - that's what we're looking to do today. It's about helping each other through situations.” The primary reason and objective for this system are to ensure perfect communication between players and a healthy working environment.

Amit Mishra was all praises for Kumble too. He had been paired up with Cheteshwar Pujara and said that he was looking forward to working on his batting skills with his buddy's help. “He bowls a bit of leg spin; he can help me with my batting, and I can help with his leg spin, so that whenever we might need it, he can bowl seven-eight overs for the team and help us," he said.

For now, Kumble seems to be well on track with his coaching goals. It will be interesting to see how he fares once India begins playing. 

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