Newly appointed Indian Cricket team head coach Anil Kumble speaks to media at his residence in Bengaluru, June 23. (Shailendra Bhojak | PTI)
He always led the country’s bowling attack from the front but Anil Kumble believes that as the new head coach of the Indian cricket team, his role will be in the “background” as it is the players who “come first.” – @Siliconeer #Siliconeer #Cricket #BCCI #IndiaCricket #AnilKumble
“It’s a huge responsibility. I have always put my hands up for any sort of challenge. The coach’s role is in the background, it’s the players who come first and that would be my approach. I am ready to take this role,” Kumble told media persons during interaction in Bengaluru, June 23, after BCCI officially made the announcement.
The former captain and India’s highest wicket-taker, Kumble was named the team’s head coach for a one-year tenure.
“It’s a great honor to be back in Indian dressing room in a different role,” Kumble said on his appointment.
Asked about his plans for the team, he said, “Strategy will be to win. There is still time to think about all that and sit with the players. I have a short and long-term plan for the upcoming series (against West Indies), but I cannot plan alone; I also need players to pitch in.”
Responding to a query, Kumble said the team’s aim obviously will be to win the upcoming series against the West Indies.
“It is a bit early to speak on all that. Yes there is a certain plan. Obviously there is an immediate series coming up against the West Indies, and our aim is to win,” he said.
Kumble, who ran a player management company was also asked on the tricky subject of conflict of interest and he said that he has discussed it with the BCCI.
“We have already discussed that. Whatever needs to be done will be done before I take up this role officially. That has been discussed and it has been very clear with BCCI,” he said.
Kumble further said there is ample time left to think about planning and strategizing.
“This is just the first reaction but there is time to think about that – probably I will sit with the players and work out – as to how to go about it,” he said.
The selection of the coach was made based on the recommendations by the Cricket Advisory Committee comprising Sachin Tendulkar, Sourav Ganguly and V.V.S. Laxman.
Asked whether the committee was blown over by his presentation, Kumble said he has had wonderful relationship with panel members, Ganguly, Tendulkar, Laxman and others.
“I certainly believe that the five players that have played throughout my career… If you look at Sourav, Sachin, Laxman – these three have been in advisory role, and also Rahul (Dravid) who is coaching the junior team. All five of us had wonderful relationship on and off the field. I think all five of us have to sit down and do what is needed in the best interest of Indian cricket team,” he said.
“This is a great time for Indian cricket. I have played for long with Sourav, Sachin, V.V.S. and Rahul is also guiding the junior,” Kumble spoke fondly of the ‘Golden Period’ of Indian cricket.
The 45-year-old Kumble pipped former team director Ravi Shastri, Australians Tom Moody and Stuart Law, and a host of others to clinch the high-profile position following an elaborate selection process headed by a three-member Cricket Advisory Committee.
“I spoke to my family and they supported my decision. I have traveled for almost 18 years (as an international cricketer) and it is not going to be easy travelling 365 days.
It is tough on the family, especially my wife.
“Yet I feel it’s the right time be again part of the Indian dressing room and give back to the sport.”
Kumble, the highest wicket-taker for India till date and third in the international Test list behind Muttiah Muralitharan and Shane Warne, emerged as a front-runner in the last few days even though he has no formal experience in coaching in the international arena.
Kumble’s wife Chethana Ramatheertha said: “We will miss him, but very happy as Indian team can’t find such a loyal coach.”