Legendary spinner Anil Kumble has been appointed the new head coach of the Indian cricket team for a period of 12 months, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) announced on Thursday (June 23) at the board’s inaugural cricket conclave in Dharamsala. The 45-year-old former leg spinner fended off competition from 56 other applicants, including Ravi Shastri, India’s former team director, for the top post.
India’s highest wicket-taker in Test cricket, who is also only the second man ever in the history of cricket to take 10 wickets in an innings, Kumble certainly looks like a man who can be given the charge of Indian cricket with complete authority. A resolute character on and off the field, Kumble will be expected to do achieve those feats which none of his predecessors have not dared thinking.
“He (Kumble) has been a match winner of India,” board president Anurag Thakur said during the announcement. “It was not about Indian or foreign coach. It was about who is the best for Indian cricket. We have kept it very transparent. Their presentations… how they can take Indian cricket forward. We have the largest cricket fans in the world. We have the strongest economies. I think Indian cricket deserves the best and we have Kumble with us. His record speaks for himself, as far as winning matches for India is concerned. ”
‘Jumbo’ as he was fondly called for his peculiar bowling style, Kumble has landed into one of the toughest jobs in international cricket. The job of coaching international teams comes along with different set of expectations, but as far as India is concerned, it becomes extremely challenging with an unforgiving media and a vast majority of fans who decline to accept defeats.
Sources told that the CAC was bowled over by the presentation made by Kumble on how he sees India topping the charts in all three formats of the game. Shastri, the other top contender, appeared via video conference as he was out of the country. He did not make any presentation.
Among the other men who were invited for an interview were Lalchand Rajput, Pravin Amre, Tom Moody, Stuart Law and Andy Moles. Chief Selector Sandeep Patil, who had also applied for the post, was not interviewed.
Kumble, like Shastri, doesn’t have any noteworthy coaching experience, but the wealth of his record and contribution to Indian cricket seemed to have tipped the scales in his favour.
In 132 Tests, India’s highest wicket-taker in the format has 619 sticks with a memorable best of 10 for 74 in the Delhi Test against Pakistan, which made him the only bowler after Jim Laker to claim all 10 in an innings. Besides, he claimed 35 five-wicket hauls and scored a hundred and five fifties in his Test career.