From test cricket captain to coach: Anil Kumble takes charge of India

Spin great, 45, who is known for his work ethic and never-say-die attitude, is appointed on a one-year term

PUBLISHED : Friday, 24 June, 2016, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 24 June, 2016, 12:00am

Former test captain Anil Kumble was on Thursday named the new coach of India for a one-year period, taking over the reins of one of the most high-profile sides in world cricket.

The highest Indian test wicket-taker, Kumble, 45, is known for his work ethic and never-say-die attitude – attributes that tipped the scale in his favour during a tough selection process.

The Indian team, ranked number two in tests, enjoys the adulation of millions of cricket crazy fans ensuring high TV viewership that in turn translates into lucrative profits for the board.

“After discussions with various stakeholders we have selected Anil Kumble for a period of one year,” said Anurag Thakur, president of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI).

The spin great was chosen from a list of 57 applicants received by the BCCI which was later pruned and placed in front of an advisory panel.

Cricketing legend Sachin Tendulkar, Sourav Ganguly and VVS Laxman were among the panel members involved in selecting Kumble as coach.

“This is the first time we have gone through an elaborate process ... interviews [were conducted] by cricketing legends,” BCCI secretary Ajay Shirke said.

Asked why Kumble was given only a one-year contract, Shirke replied: “Anil Kumble is now transforming himself from being [a] great on the cricketing field to becoming the great coach that we expect him to be.”

Kumble did not fulfil the BCCI’s stated criteria of “having coached an international side”, yet he managed to sneak past many prominent Indian and foreign candidates.

Former team director Ravi Shastri, who was performing coaching duties for the team under a stop-gap arrangement after Zimbabwean Duncan Fletcher’s exit last year, was also in the frame for the coach’s role.

“It’s a great honour to be back again in the Indian dressing room in a different role and in a different capacity,” said Kumble.

“It’s a huge responsibility, I have always put my hand up for challenges and I am ready to take up this role,” he added.

Kumble has a tough road ahead as India look to a gruelling season, including hosting top sides like New Zealand, England and Australia.

His first coaching assignment will be India’s upcoming tour of the West Indies in July where the team will play four tests.

“Kumble is an outstanding choice as coach of India. The expectations from him will be huge,” popular cricket commentator Harsha Bhogle wrote on Twitter.

The leg-spinner bagged 619 test wickets in 132 matches and is only the second bowler in cricket history after England’s Jim Laker to have taken all 10 in a test innings.