Kumble takes charge with focus on bowlers

Bangalore—The last time Anil Kumble was part of an India camp was at his home ground, M Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bangalore, in 2008. Two men were under immense pressure to keep their places in the side: Captain Kumble and former captain Sourav Ganguly. Just before the series both had struggled in Sri Lanka: Ganguly had scored 96 runs in six innings, and Kumble had taken eight wickets for 400 runs in three Tests. Just before the home series against Australia, Kumble answered in the negative when asked about retirements. A few days later, Ganguly announced this series was to be his last, and an injured Kumble ended his career even before Ganguly.
Eight years later, Kumble and Ganguly have emerged as an unlikely duo shepherding the Indian team from the management perspective. Unlike Tendulkar and VVS Laxman, Ganguly has turned out to be pretty hands-on as a state association president and a member of the cricket advisory committee. Kumble, too, has had a stint as a state association president, actually winning an election, willing to put his reputation on the line by entering the contest. Now Ganguly is believed to have played a key role in getting Kumble as the coach of Indian team.
Sitting in the same spot that Ganguly had been in when he uttered words that still resonate – “just one last thing lads, before I leave, I just want to say that this is going to be my last series,” Kumble was asked for his opinion on the way Shastri had been overlooked. Shastri had alleged Ganguly was not even present to interview him when he made his presentation. The underlying suggestion being that the decision had already been made before the interview process.
Kumble was a relentless bowler, always at the batsman, but here he did a good impression of leaving this swinging ball alone outside off. “I was the first one to call Ravi after I was chosen as head coach,” Kumble said. “He did a wonderful job with the Indian team. It is not about Anil or Ravi, it is not about the head coach. It is about the players, it is about the team. And from my point of view, whether it is me or Ravi or any Indian, we all want the Indian team to do well. We all want the Indian team to perform at its best. We all believe that there is potential for the Indian team to be the best in all three formats.
“And If I’m part of the journey, that’s all I have to say. He congratulated me. I told him it’s a fantastic team, a young team that we have. It could be someone else tomorrow [in place of me]. I’m not permanent in this role. I have an opportunity to make a difference. I have an opportunity to be part of the journey and if I can be part of the journey where we see Indian cricket rise to where we all want it to be, then I think it’s wonderful. I feel privileged, like I already mentioned. And an honour again to be a part of the team.”—Agencies

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