After 18 months without a coach, the Indian cricket team finally has none other than Anil Kumble at the helm! Personally, I really feel glad as he truly deserves a shot at leading the team.
Low odds in the beginning
Everyone knows about Kumble’s prowess in spinning the ball any way he wanted, usually leaving the batsman stumped (pun intended). But that was not enough to assure him of bagging the job.
When BCCI had initially called for applications for those seeking to take up the coach’s role, not many were betting on Kumble. The reason was this: Kumble did not meet two important criteria, those of either having coached a first-class team or of being a certified coach.
Citing these reasons, BCCI did not include Kumble’s name in the 21-name shortlist forwarded to its Cricket Advisory Committee – comprising of Sourav Ganguly, Sachin Tendulkar and VVS Laxman. Kumble’s application was only considered after the CAC itself asked for it to be sent to them.
Till this time, Ravi Shastri was the top contender for the post. His rapport with the team – especially Virat Kohli – and India’s great performance over the last year had made him an odds-on favourite.
Then why was Kumble chosen over Shastri?
The process went forward, and in the end, Anil Kumble was appointed as the coach. So what was it that worked for him? Here are my reasons:
- Right now, the Indian team is in a transition phase. Except for Kohli, not many players have performed consistently. Here, Kumble’s calm persona, along with a short experience of leading the team, was probably seen as essential to mould the players and help them perform on the big stage.
In contrast, Ravi Shastri usually had a more aggressive attitude. I believe that the instance when Ishant Sharma lost his cool during the Sri Lankan tour, was a good example of the aggression that he demanded from his team
- Even though India has done brilliantly in the shorter format of the game, a lot still needs to be improved on in the tests format. This requires a lot of patience and technique, different from the aggressive and powerful play which usually works in T20s.
So what would have been better than to bring in one of the most successful players of the format? Kumble’s record – 619 wickets in tests – speaks for itself
Anil Kumble has been selected as the coach for 1 year. I do hope that he brings more laurels for the team, now as a coach.
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Views presented in the article are those of the author and not of ED.