Kapil Dev welcomes Anil Kumble's appointment as India's new head coach
Legendary Indian all-rounder and former coach of the Indian cricket team, Kapil Dev, has hailed the BCCI for appointing Anil Kumble as the team’s new head coach. Speaking to Telegraph India in an exclusive interview, the 57-year-old named confidence, fighting spirit and courage as Kumble's three biggest qualities and is hopeful that the legendary leg-spinner can carry forward his highly successful playing career into the new role as well.
While India has opted for the likes of John Wright, Greg Chappell, Gary Kirsten and Duncan Fletcher as head coach before naming Ravi Shastri as Team India Director since Kapil’s stint as coach ended in 2001, the one-time leading Test wicket taker in the world believes the BCCI have done the right thing by choosing someone who knows what the modern-day game is all about.
“The Board has acted wisely in appointing somebody who played till as recently as eight years ago. The head coach should, in my opinion, be somebody who retired four, six or eight years ago. Not former players like me who retired in the 1990s. Cricket has changed in the past decade and the appointment of somebody contemporary, like Anil, has to be welcomed,” Kapil told Telegraph India.
“The thinking of somebody who played in the 1980s or in the 1990s will be quite different to somebody who played till 2008, like Anil. There's a new format, there's so much help from technology,” he added.
Talking about Kumble’s credentials, Kapil said that though everyone is aware of the 45-year-old’s pedigree now, he himself was a little sceptical when Kumble burst on to the Indian cricket scene as first. He is more than happy that Kumble proved his critics wrong to end up as India’s leading wicket-taker in Test cricket.
“Ordinary, in some ways (Kapil’s first impression about Kumble). However, with time, Anil learnt and improved by leaps and bounds... He wanted to get better. Kept improving to finish with 619 Test wickets,” he said.
According to Kapil, Kumble’s main challenge will be to keep winning with the Indian side that has been showing signs of rapid improvement. Singling out courage as Kumble's biggest hallmark, the former all-rounder expressed full confidence that India's new coach will prosper despite having limited coaching experience previously.
“Anil had many defining moments, like the 10-wicket haul in a single Test innings (Kotla, in 1999)... Maybe, it would be difficult to count them... As for that Antigua Test (where Kumble played on despite having a broken jaw), Anil showed he valued playing for India and just wouldn't give up, no matter what the circumstances,” he said.
“Anil is smart enough to know what to do... He has a mind of his own... Anil made us proud of his achievements on the field. Hopefully, he'll make us proud as India's head coach too,” he concluded.