Anil Kumble is the not one who shouts his instructions from the rooftop. Even during his playing days he was called the genial giant—he always preferred the bowl to do the talking. On Thursday, after the 45-year old Bangalorean was made the chief coach of the Indian team, Kumble was quick to spell out that he would be “working behind the scenes” with the Indian team. “I will be sticking to a behind the scene job. I have faith in my abilities and want to help out the team in my style,” the ace leg-spinner went on to add.
Kumble’s low key approach is so typical of the style of the coaches he had worked under as a Team India spinner. New Zealander John Wright and Gary Kirsten were two of his favourite coaches and both of them used to work behind the scenes. “It’s no surprise that he (Kumble) has decided to adopt a similar behind the scenes approach to coaching,” said a former cricketer.
Kumble was quick to admit the enormity of the role. “No doubt, it’s a huge responsibility. To coach Team India is a big challenge. I have always put my hands up for any sort of challenge. It’s the players who come first and I know exactly what I have to do,” he said. When asked what his strategy would be, Kumble did not bat an eyelid. “The 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, he added.
Kumble said the new job was a matter of honour for him. “It’s a a great honour to be in the dressing room again and I am humbled by the decision of the advisory committee,” he said. The board’s advisory committee’s three members are batting maestro Sachin Tendulkar, former captain Sourav Ganguly and veteran batsman V.V.S. Laxman.
Kumble was nostalgic when asked about his association with the likes of Sachin, Sourav and Dravid. “This is a great time for Indian cricket. I have played for long with Sachin, Sourav, V.V.S. and Rahul who is guiding the junior team. The five of us shared a wonderful relation during our playing days and got on very well with each both on and off the field. I will always cherish some of the moments we had during our playing days,” he said. When asked whether his lack of actual coaching could be an impediment, Kumble said, “Let’s see how it goes. I have certain ideas on how to go about with the team. Also I have seen all these current players from close quarters and know about them,” he said. When queried whether the fact that Kumble not having a previous coaching stint before would act as a handicap, a former cricketer begged to differ. “I don’t think its important that a formal coaching stint is important. After all, let’s not forget that Kumble is the world’s third highest wicket-taker and also one of the shrewdest readers of the game,” he said.
The cricketer also went on to say that he had watched Kumble from close quarters during the latter’s association with Mumbai Indians as a mentor. “I have seen Kumble sit, analyse and even instruct the Mumbai players on many occasions. He has that hands off approach—something that does nor irritate or irk a player.” said the player.
When asked whether he would be comfortable with a travelling job as Team India coach, Kumble said he was used to travelling.
“Though I was away from home for 18 long years, travelling and playing in the country and overseas, my family supported my decision to be a coach, which means going back to the dressing room and travelling a lot again,” he said .