Bengaluru: For the first time since 2000, Team India will go back to trusting its own players, in the role of coach, anointing former Indian skipper Anil Kumble as head coach of the team, albeit on a one-year contract.
Following Kapil Dev’s 10-month stint which ended in August 2000, the cricket board, with influence from its top cricketers, has swung for international names in John Wright, Greg Chappell, Gary Kirsten, Duncan Fletcher before the latter gave way to Ravi Shastri, who preferred the Team Director’s profile to the coach.
Having pruned a big list of 57 candidates to 21, the Cricket Advisory Committee comprising Kumble’s former team-mates in Sachin Tendulkar, Sourav Ganguly and VVS Laxman besides former BCCI secretary Sanjay Jagdale, chose the former leg-spinner, who is India’s most successful bowler with 619 Test wickets and 337 ODI scalps.
The 45-year-old Kumble, comes without prior coaching experience but edged out Shastri to the coveted, but demanding job on the strength of his illustrious 18-year-career and a commanding knowledge of the game.
"It's a big responsibility," Kumble said. "I have seen the kind of pressure coaches have been under. They have the biggest accountability. I felt this was the right time to come back to the dressing-room environment, to be with the players, to help them prepare,” said Kumble.
Board president Anurag Thakur, announcing Kumble’s appointment in Dharamsala on Thursday evening said; “ It's not about Indian or foreign coach. It’s about who is the best for Indian cricket. India deserves the best, and I think we have it in Kumble.”...