Anil Kumble: Glad to be back in the dressing room again
Putting an end to all speculations and questions hovering over the appointment of the next Head Coach of the Indian Cricket Team, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) today named former Indian cricketer, Anil Kumble, as the new coach of the Indian team for a period of 1 year. At a press conference in Dharamsala, on the third and final day of the 1st Annual Conclave of the BCCI, board President Anurag Thakur and the secretary of the BCCI, Ajay Shikre, addressed the media and announced the name of the new coach.
Interacting with the media moments after his appointment as the coach, the 45-year-old said, “It's a great honour to be back in Indian dressing room in a different role. It is a great honour and a great responsibility. I’ve always put my hand up for challenges and I’m ready to take up this role. It is time to give back to the country.” A veteran of 619 Test wickets and 337 ODI wickets, Kumble has been the most prolific Indian bowler across all formats of the international game, and in popular opinion, is the right man to take the team forward.
Need to sit down with Sourav, Sachin, Laxman, and Dravid: Kumble
On being asked about the strategy for the upcoming away Test series against the West Indies, which would be Kumble’s first assignment as the coach, the Karnataka cricketer emphasized upon the role of the players in the team. He opined, “The coach’s role, I believe, is always done in the background. The players come first. (The) Strategy will be to win against the West Indies. Have a short and long plan for the upcoming series, but I cannot plan alone; need players to pitch in. I haven’t spoken to the players yet."
The BCCI had, for the first time, adopted a transparent process to pick the India coach, as a notification was released on May 22 inviting applications for the coveted position subject to certain requisite criteria. As many as 57 applicants applied for the job by the time the deadline for such applications was reached on June 10, after which the board segregated 21 candidates to be interviewed by the Cricket Advisory Committee (CAC) comprising of Indian legends, namely Sachin Tendulkar, Sourav Ganguly, and VVS Laxman.
Speaking about his former teammates, who also sat through his extensive presentation on Tuesday, the former leg-spinner said was all praises about the men who shared the dressing room with him. “I am thankful to BCCI and cricket advisory committee for showing faith in me . Three of the best men that I played cricket with were a part of the committee. Sourav, obviously, is also there with an administrative role. Rahul (Dravid) is the coach of the junior side. The five of us have had a wonderful relationship on the field and off it as well. Need to sit down with Sourav, Sachin, Laxman, and Dravid and need to do what is best for Indian cricket. Of course, all the stakeholders as far as cricket is concerned will also pitch in.”
Conflict of interest not an issue: Kumble
The Indian legend would now be required to switch back to the routine that he used to follow during his playing days for the Indian cricket team. Travelling around the world would once again be a part of his day to day life. But the former cricketer, who is also a family man now, confirmed that discussions had been done with his wife and other family members before taking up such a decision.
“Spoke about it to the family as well. It is not easy, traveling 365 days, and it’s not easy on the family as well. So I had a chat with them and they have been very supportive, my wife has been very supportive. It’s not easy to travel again. I’ve been on that for 18 years, so yes, that was a major decision, and once that decision came about I thought that it was the right time for me to decide.”
However, certain questions were also raised regarding the contentious clause of ‘conflict of interest’ as Kumble is also the Chairman of the Cricket Committee of the International Cricket Council. Answering questions pertaining to this issue Kumble quipped, “We’ve already discussed that. (the clause) And whatever needs to be done will be done before I take up this role officially. It’s been discussed with the BCCI as well, so it is something that can be easily resolved.”