Anil Kumble known for his amazing work ethics during his playing days was today named by the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) as the Team India’s head coach for a year. Kumble will take charge from India’s upcoming four-Test series in the West Indies in July-August.
Anurag Thakur the BCCI President, announced the name of Anil Kumble as the head coach at a press conference this evening. He said, “It was a transparent process and we wanted to pick the best after discussing with all the stakeholders.” He said, “It is not about Indian or foreign, it is about who is the best person for the job. I think we have used the services of best players who have served Indian cricket. There was no such limitation that we have to have only an Indian coach. We wanted the best for the Indian team”.
Kumble was chosen by the BCCI’s Cricket Advisory Committee that included former captain Saurav Ganguly, Sachin Tendulkar and veteran batting star VVS Laxman. Former BCCI secretary and cricketer Sanjay Jagdale was the co-ordinator. The post of head coach had fallen with the expiry of Duncan Fletcher’s contract at the end of the 2015 World Cup.
Ravi Shastri had run the team as its director since the ODI series in England in August 2014. Shastri’s contract expired after India bowed out at the semi-final stage of the World T20. The choice of head coach had boiled down to a high-profile race between Shastri and Kumble although there were candidates like Pravin Amre and Lalchand Rajput. Australians Tom Moody and Stuart Law both with considerable coaching experience and Englishman Andy Moles were also in the fray.
Kumble, a proud owner of 619 Test wickets, was reportedly not in the 21-man shortlist that was given to the advisory committee. The former skipper without international coaching experience or a coach’s certificate didn’t make the initial cut after the Board received 57 applications. But the BCCI still left a window for candidates who did not meet all the criteria. The selection panel promptly took advantage of that to call Kumble.
Kumble having played a lot of cricket with Ganguly, Tendulkar and Laxman, personally presented his case in Kolkata on Tuesday. Shastri did his case through video conferencing. Kumble has 132 Tests, 271 ODIs and 54 T20 International wise to his credit – may not have been a unanimous choice considering the fact that Shastri was successful as team director and had a good rapport with Test captain Virat Kohli. A large section of the BCCI was also in favour of the former Mumbai star, sources said. But then Kumble knows how to secure breakthroughs. He has done the star turn several times for India, including a historic 10-wicket haul against Pakistan at Kotla in February, 1999.