Hoping to draw an end to the Shastri controversy, Anil Kumble today revealed that he was the first person to call Ravi Shastri and said that the team is bigger than both of them. The new India coach also showed his intent saying that his aim is to ensure that India dominate all the three formats.
In his first press conference after being appointed as head coach of the Indian cricket team, Anil Kumble was, as expected, quizzed on the Ravi Shastri controversy, which has refused to die down. Kumble said, “I was the first one to call Ravi. It’s not about Ravi or Kumble but it is about the team. I told him the same.”
The new head coach of the Indian cricket team addressed the media at a press conference in Bengaluru. Having been in the dressing room during one of the stormiest times in the Indian dressing room during the Chappell-Ganguly era, Kumble also underlined the roles of the captain and coach.
Anil Kumble said that the captain would be in-charge on the field. He also said, “I've spoken to M.S. Dhoni and Virat Kohli on the road map. Players will be in the front, and the support staff will be in the background. I will utilise the experience that I have gained over the years as a captain. Our goal is to see the team dominate all three formats.”
Contrary to the team that he had captained, Kumble understands that this team is younger. "I know how to communicate with youngsters and it is nice to see the right mix of youth and experience in the team. The fitness levels have risen since the time I have retired,” the former India captain said when asked about the difference in the team in 2008, when he retired and now.
One chief reason that was touted for Kumble pipping Shastri was the need to bolster the Indian bowling attack that has often been faulted for being inconsistent. India’s highest Test wicket-taker also said that there would be an increased focus on bowling. “It is important that the bowling group to believe that they are leaders, which they are,” he said.
Kumble also spoke about the preparatory camp set to begin in Bengaluru. He said there might be a few issues because of the rains, but they will try to get the most out of it. “We are looking to maximise the outdoor nets sessions. The morning session will start at 9 am and the afternoon session will start at 2 pm, “he said.
Kumble also said, “This is a very talented team. I am pretty sure there will good cricket on display. Win or lose, there will be fighting spirit visible.
“I certainly understand the role of a coach, of staying in the background. It is the captain who takes all the calls on the field. I will only assist him wherever necessary in terms of strategy or preparation.
“It’s a great honour to be back in the Indian dressing room, again, amongst all the players. It is a great privilege,” he said.
Kumble also re-iterated that he was honoured to be a part of the journey of the Indian cricket team and it wasn’t about the tenure of his coaching stint. “I am talking about the journey here. I have been given an opportunity to be a part of the Indian team. I am not thinking about what will happen after a year or two,” he said.
The Indian team will travel to West Indies to play a four Test series beginning on July 21 with Virat Kohli as the captain.
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