Kumble : It’s always players first, coaches come later

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Kumble : It’s always players first, coaches come later

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Saketh RVK

06/24/2016

Former India captain Anil Kumble, who was appointed as the Indian cricket team’s head coach, has said that it is a huge responsibility, and that his role will be done in the background. He also said that he had quite a few plans in place and is looking forward to working as the coach

Speaking to bcci.tv after his appointment, Kumble said, "It's great honour to be back in the Indian dressing room, in a different role, in a different capacity, and I'd like to thank BCCI for showing faith in me and the cricket advisory committee (CAC) for showing faith in me.

"It's a huge responsibility, like I mentioned, but I've always put my hand up for challenges and I'm ready to take up this role. Coach's role, in my opinion, is always done in the background, players come first and that will be my approach. It's always the players first and the coaches come later," the former Karnataka leg-spinner said.

Also read: Twitter reacts to Anil Kumble's appointment as India coach

Speaking on working with the teams and the short and long-term plans, Kumble said, “Yes, there is a certain plan, obviously, and the immediate series that is coming up is the West Indies. Obviously the strategy is to win. I’ve spoken to Virat (Kohli) and MS (Dhoni) is on the flight back here. It is good that we have a camp in Bengaluru before we leave. We’ll sit and iron out the issues. I think bowling will be the focus and we’ll take it from there. Batting, of course, we have had some wonderful talent in the team.

“It’s a young team driven by a young captain. I’m looking forward to working with Virat and MS as well. So the short term is the West Indies tour. The long-term of course are the number of Test matches coming up in India, and I’m sure there would be a lot of focus on that as well going forward,” he added.

Kumble was interviewed by Sachin Tendulkar, Sourav Ganguly and VVS Laxman as a part of the CAC, which was handed the responsibility of selecting the head coach by Anurag Thakur. On this, he said, “It's a great thing for Indian cricket (the CAC). Sourav, Sachin and Laxman, the three of them have been in advisory roles. Sourav, of course, is in an administrative role as well. And then Rahul [Dravid] is in charge of the junior team. The five of us have had a wonderful relationship on the field, and off it as well. And I think all five of us will have to sit down and do what is needed for the best interests of Indian cricket. Of course, stakeholders as far as cricket is concerned will also come in. I'm certainly looking forward to working with all of them."

Also read: Why BCCI's dramatic head coach selection process is nothing but a farce

Appointed for 12 months, Kumble admitted that the job of coaching the Indian team would be a tasking one, and that his family has been very supportive about it. "I'm really honoured. I certainly felt this was the time for me to give back. I spoke about it with my family as well, it's not easy travelling 365 days. It's tough on the family, we had a long chat and they've been very supportive. It's not easy to travel again, I've been on that for 18 years. So that was the major decision and once that came about I thought this was the right time to give back," Kumble told BCCI.tv.

Kumble took 619 wickets in 132 Tests as a bowler, and still holds the record for the most wickets by an Indian bowler. Most memorable of all his feats would be the 10 wickets he took in a single innings against Pakistan in Ferozshah Kotla in 1999. He was the second ever after Jim Laker to do this. Anil Kumble is the first Indian to be appointed head coach since Kapil Dev in 1999-2000. He will fill in the post vacant since Duncan Fletcher’s contract expired after the 2015 World Cup.

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