Anil Kumble was all praise for the Virat Kohli-led Team India and stated that the team would go on to create history in the alien conditions of South Africa. The former India coach has also credited the players and the support staff for the amazing run that India had under his stewardship.
After almost three years of cricket in the batting-friendly conditions in India, the Men in Blue will now travel to South Africa for a full series of three Tests, six ODIs, and three T20Is, starting January 5. This will be the first real challenge for the Kohli-led side on seamer-friendly conditions. However, the team’s pace stock oozes confidence, more than ever, and that gives the Indian fans a semblance of hope that India will do well in the African nation. That belief has also been attested by Kumble, who had stepped down as the India coach in June after an “apparently untenable” relationship with the skipper came to the fore.
“I’m confident that the team which we have will certainly go on to create history in South Africa and then beyond. That’s the confidence I have, and I’m sure the team under Virat certainly has the capabilities to achieve that and continue all the good work they have been doing,” Kumble said while receiving the “Coach of the Year Award” at the annual Sports Writers’ Association of Bangalore (SWAB) awards.
Under Kumble’s mentorship, India went on to achieve the Numero Uno position in Test cricket and was virtually unbeatable at home. Since July 2016 when Kumble assumed the position, India registered a 2-0 victory in West Indies which was followed by a dream run at home in which India blanked New Zealand 3-0 in Tests and followed that up with a 3-2 win in the One-Day International series. The team then beat England 4-0 in a five-match Test series, and if that was not enough of a thrashing, they rooted them again by identical 2-1 margins in the ODIs and T20Is. Bangladesh’s hopes of creating history in their historic Test debut in India never really happened and nor did Australia’s final frontier 2.0 as the Kangaroos got a 2-1 beating in a highly competitive four-match Test series. India also reached the finals of the Champions Trophy but lost to Pakistan in the final and that eventually became Kumble’s last match with the India team. However, Kumble, being his modest self, gave the due credit to the support staff and the players for the results and didn’t try to cover himself with all the glory.
“I think coaches in cricket don’t have too much to say or too much to do. But nonetheless this is an excellent recognition of all the good work that the team did over the past one year and they have continued with their winning ways. This wouldn’t have happened without the support group, all the support team that I had over the past year has been exceptional. So thanks to them, thanks to the members of the team,” Kumble added.