Newly-appointed India coach Anil Kumble has vowed to bring back the excitement and fans to Test cricket matches.
Speaking at his first press conference Kumble said it was a privilege to have been chosen to lead the India team. He emphasised the need for the coaching stuff to help with the preparations but let the players lead on the field, and said being a former player meant he knew what sort of support the players required from the coaching stuff.
‘My role is to maximise preparation,’ Kumble said. ‘The coaching staff will stay in the background, the players and captain will be at the forefront. I was a player, I’m a coach now, I understand the responsibilities of both well.
‘Experiences I’ve had as a player and captain will help. [But] the captain will take the calls on the field, I will only assist him in terms of strategy and preparation.’
India have also been criticised for ignoring the longer format of the game and concentrating on limited overs. Kumble, who has taken 619 wickets from 132 Tests, wants to change the teams attitude towards five-day cricket.
‘We’ll display a format of Test cricket that brings people in to watch and love the game.’
He also addressed the questions on him being chosen over Shastri, and brushed off suggestions that there was conflict between them.
‘It’s not about Anil or Ravi or the head coach, it’s about the players, about the team. We all want the Indian team to do well and perform at its best. We believe there’s potential for the team to dominate in all formats. He was part of that journey too,’ he said. ‘I’m not permanent either, [but] I have an opportunity to be a part of this journey.’
Shastri had a successful 18-month tenure with the Indian side. India made it to the semi-finals of successive global events – the 2015 World Cup and the 2016 World T20 – and briefly occupied the No. 1 Test ranking earlier this year.
Kumble’s first assignment will be the four-Test tour of the West Indies starting July 21, followed by a busy home season that includes a mammoth 13 Tests.
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