NEW DELHI: Anil Kumble thinks a year – and 17 test matches – is enough for India to make its mark on all three formats of cricket. Kumble’s one-year contract as coach of the national team begins with the first of four tests against West Indies in the Caribbean, starting June 21, followed by 13 home test matches against New Zealand, England, Australia and Bangladesh. “I am not permanent in this role, (but) I am really privileged that I am part of this journey,” Kumble said Wednesday.
“We all believe that the potential is there for the Indian team to dominate in all three formats.” Kumble, who was among 57 candidates for the job including former Indian team director Ravi Shastri, took 619 wickets in 132 test matches and 337 from 271 ODIs. “I was the first one to call Ravi after I was chosen the head coach,” Kumble said.
“It’s not about Ravi or Anil or whoever it is. It’s not about the head coach, it’s about the players, it’s about the team.” India defeated West Indies 1-0 in the last test series in the Caribbean in 2011 in which fast bowler Ishant Sharma took 22 wickets. Three other current players – captain Virat Kohli, Murali Vijay and Amit Mishra – were also part of that tour. “I think Ishant was man of the series, he will be the leader to take the bowling attack,” Kumble said.
“West Indies is always (a) tough team at home … but the (Indian) team is pretty geared up for the challenges.” While Kumble is keen to help his bowlers perform against West Indies – “At this point of time I thought I can get closer to the bowlers … I’d like to observe and try see how the team is shaping up” – he stresses it’s the captain in charge out on the field. Since his retirement from test cricket in 2008, Kumble has been mentor of Mumbai Indians and Royal Challengers Bangalore in the Indian Premier League.
He also has an important role as head of the ICC’s cricket committee. The number of test matches ahead shows “how important test cricket is” to India, Kumble said, but he has an open mind over any future changes. “Whatever it takes to popularize test cricket, I’m for it.”— AP