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anil kumble

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Anil Kumble: Surprise selection as Team India Coach


Edited version of original image depicting pop...

Indian cricketer Anil Kumble. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Anil Kumble is the newly appointed  Team India coach.

That must be the most important job in the country after the Prime Minister’s, right?

Wrong, dead wrong.

Sanjay Manjrekar , in his column for The Week, describes the job thus:

“’Tell me, who is this guy with the Indian team, is he a player?’

‘No, he does not step onto the field.’

‘Is he a selector, does he pick the players?’

‘No, he does not, the captain and selectors do that.’

‘Okay, then, does he make the critical game-changing decisions on the field, with regard to bowling changes, field setting, batting order, etc?’

‘Nope, that again is done by the captain.’

There you go, that is the actual reality of an Indian coach and his position within the team. Hence the media excitement, every time, around the appointment of an Indian coach, baffles me.

In contrast, when a far more important and influential position outside the players is filled, it’s only duly noted by the media. That is the chief selector’s position.”

This is not to deride or belittle Anil Kumble’s credentials in any way.

Much has been said and written about his stellar cricketing record, his courage facing the West Indian quicks and his mental strength,

Kumble recognises the above reality and claims that he’ll be more of an ‘elder brother’  to the side.

He said:

“I certainly believe that as a coach of a young team, you need to be hands-on and you need to really get your hands dirty as well – train with them, be a part of their training. And be with them more like an elder brother, in every aspect, not just on the field, but also off it. That’s something I will be focusing on.”

Manjrekar concludes his piece thus:

“In Indian cricket, the captain and a couple of senior players basically chart the destiny of the Indian team. The selectors have an important role to play in this journey. If the captain is able, there is nothing wrong with this kind of culture; many great teams have been built like this.

So what an Indian coach really does is facilitate the needs of the captain and the core group and try and keep them in good spirits.

The coaches that actually make a difference to Indian cricket are those that coached players like Tendulkar, Dravid, and others, when they were kids. The grassroots level coaches.”

Kumble made a three-year-plan presentation to the Cricket Advisory Committee but has been appointed for only a year.

Ravi Shastri’s stint as Team Director and the results under his tutelage paved the way for the selection of an Indian coach.

Can Kumble prove as adept as John Wright or Gary Kirsten in handling this young side?

India play 13 Tests at home and his tenure includes the Champions Trophy.

‘Jumbo’ does not have a long rope and there is speculation that he was not an unanimous choice.

Kumble has no formal coaching experience but then neither had Shastri.

That appears to have made the difference since he was not in the initial shortlist.

The CAC selected Kumble—possibly—because he is a much younger candidate and can keep pace with the youngsters in the side. John Wright and Gary Kirsten were not too long retired when they took over the reins of the Indian side.

A younger person can be more hands-on; Kumble certainly believes he can be.

Is hands-on what the job requires? Depends on how you define it. Kirsten felt that it played an important role while he was coach. He used to spend hours bouncing balls at the senior players. His ability to handle fragile super-egos cannot be underestimated.

Kirsten’s right if we are go by what Manjrekar writes. And he is an expert.

Players like Virender Sehwag and Virat Kohli prefer to consult their old coaches on  technical aspects of their skills.

Is it less likely that it’s not the same for the current batch of players? Ajinkya Rahane and Robin Uthappa have retained Pravin Amre as their go-to person for improving their willow skills.

It does appear that what a coach brings to the side is intangible but the results are visible and rewarded or penalised with much more alacrity.

Simply put, the coach is the fall guy should anything go wrong.

 

 

 

 

 

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Chloe, Meringue and Popper discuss Virat Kohli’s merits and demerits (Humour)


A hen chicken (Gallus gallus)

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Chloe the Chicken wandered up to me and queried, “Say, do you think Virat Kohli is right?”

“Right about what?”  boomed Meringue the Meerkat.

“I wasn’t speaking to you, Merry, but the question remains. Is Virat right when he says that his captaincy efforts are under-appreciated by former cricketers especially those who never represented the country?”

English: Rose-ringed Parakeet (Psittacula kram...

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Popper the Parakeet squawked, “Is Virat right? Is Virat right? Is Virat right?”

I step in before the cacophony becomes more deafening.

“He’s right and he’s wrong, my friends. He’s right because South Africa were and are the No.1 Test side and had never lost overseas for the past 10 years—an enviable record. He’s wrong because the true test of a side’s and captain’s greatness lies in how they perform overseas in different and difficult conditions.”

“So, he’s right?”said Chloe the Chicken.

Chloe is a huge Virat fan and has a collection of postcards of the dashing youngster from Delhi. The ones featuring Anushka Sharma are carefully culled and snipped so as to exclude the sultry actress.

Meringue the Meerkat said, “But, don’t you think that it’s early days yet to pass judgment on Virat’s leadership? After all, he led bravely and from the front in Australia and though the side lost the series, they were not humiliated. And he’s cleared two stern tests on the sub-continent.”

Popper the Parakeet chimed in, “It’s early! It’s early! It’s early!”

“Yes, I agree. It’s too soon to tell. Dhoni had the Midas touch when he started out as Test skipper after Anil Kumble. He led Team India to the No.1 spot on the back of series victories at home. Virat could easily do the same. But we all know what followed overseas in England and Australia. And then MS lost the golden touch at home too when the English came calling.”

“True! True! True!” said Meringue the Meerkat.

“I believe that Saurav Ganguly was the best Indian skipper in recent times. He had the desire and the will to do well overseas. Similarly, Rahul Dravid and Anil Kumble. Is Virat in that mould? Or does he prefer easy wins on muddy patches?” I added.

“Muddy patches! Muddy patches! Muddy patches!” squawked Popper the Parakeet.

“And what do you think of Virat’s statements about non-international cricketers passing judgment on his leadership? Do you agree that they don’t have the credentials to criticise Indian cricket’s latest golden boy?” moderates Chloe the Chicken.

“That’s not quite right. International cricketers are privileged to play for the country. But they have to admit that luck and timing play an important role in their turning out in Indian colors. To paint domestic players as less capable is being unfair to their efforts and feats at the state and district level. After all, these young stars don’t have a problem turning to these very same non-entities when it comes to being coached about the finer points of batting and bowling.”

“Well, well, well, that’s settled. Virat Kohli is both right and wrong. A fine batsman, a fine cricketer, a fine leader but yet to become a fine man,” responded Chloe the Chicken.

“Hear! Hear! Hear!” echoed Meringue the Meerkat.

“Hear! Hear! Hear!” echoed Popper the Parakeet too.

Anil Kumble: What he said, really meant and definitely didn’t


Anil Kumble theorises.

What he said:

We have gone into this theory of three seamers and one spinner the moment we sit on an aircraft which travels more than seven hours.”

Anil Kumble is convinced that not much thought goes into the selection of the bowlers in overseas Tests outside the subcontinent.

He said:

“We have the quality of bowlers, it’s just trying to see who can adjust to the Test format and then choosing your best four bowlers who you think can pick up 20 wickets, that’s also been an issue.

We have gone into this theory of three seamers and one spinner the moment we sit on an aircraft which travels more than seven hours – that’s the mindset… If your 20 wickets are going to come with two spinners and two fast bowlers, so be it. If it comes with three spinners and one fast bowler so be it.”

The former India skipper believes that  “Horses for courses” is not the right policy when it comes to selecting teams for the longer format.

What he really meant:

“It’s a long flight and snooze mode is what the Indian think-tank hits on its ‘Think-Pad’.” 

What he definitely didn’t:

 “The Indian team especially it’s bowlers should just ‘wing it’.”

Anil Kumble: What he said, really meant and definitely didn’t


Anil Kumble defaulted to skipper status.

What he said:

“‘ok, Anil is the only guy and let’s give it to him’.”

Anil Kumble tells a tale of his ascendancy to the most exalted position in Indian cricket—the captaincy of the national side.

Kumble said:

“I became captain after representing India for 17 years, so, probably, I became captain by default… Because nobody else wanted it..

Rahul Dravid had just given up the captaincy and at that time, it was probably too early for (Mahendra Singh) Dhoni to step in as the Test captain… Sachin (Tendulkar) also did not want it… So they looked around and said ‘ok, Anil is the only guy and let’s give it to him’.”

What he really meant:

“I was the only one in the Fab Five (Sachin, Saurav, Laxman, Kumble and Dravid) willing to take up the onus of leading the country. I got it not because they felt I was the most deserving candidate but because they felt they could not risk putting Dhoni in the hot seat for a tour of Australia right then. It was way too early and he could have fizzled out given the additional pressure. At least, that was the opinion of the then bigwigs (selection committee).”

What he definitely didn’t:

“I wanted it, though, oh , how I wanted it. And I made it mine and how. Success—thy name is desire.”

Should Sachin follow Ponting into retirement? Kumble has the last word


 

Anil Kumble: What he said, really meant and definitely did not


Anil Kumble during the press conference in Ban...

Anil Kumble is no ‘Gandhian

What he said:

"I don’t see any conflict of interest here. The positions with the KSCA and NCA are honorary jobs, and I have to look after myself. At this stage of my career, I have to do that. Otherwise, you’d have to become like Gandhi and give up everything."

Anil Kumble is the third Indian ex-cricketer—after Sunil Gavaskar and Ravi Shastri—targeted by current affairs magazine, Outlook India,in their latest issue for an alleged conflict of interest.

Kumble is  director and owner of  player management firm, Tenvic. He is additionally president of the Karnataka State Cricket Association (KSCA) , chairman of the National Cricket Academy and mentor to IPL franchise, Royal Challengers Bangalore. In the latter three capacities, the former leg-spinner could favorably influence the fortunes of his Tenvic wards.

What he really meant:

“I’m not well-versed in perception management. Besides, Gandhi was no cricketer. No real comparison there. N Srinivasan’s my guru.”

What he definitely didn’t:

 Money, Money, Money. It’s a rich man’s world.”

Mahendra Singh Dhoni going the Kapil way?


Mahendra Singh Dhoni at Adelaide Oval

Kapil Dev Nikhanj. Mahendra Singh Dhoni.

Two charismatic skippers with winning ways.

The former led Team India to an epochal triumph in the 1983 World Cup, a victory which led to a radical power shift within the ICC. The Reliance World Cup followed in 1987. The circle was complete. The colonised were now king-makers.

Mahendra Singh Dhoni was fortunate to be selected skipper for the inaugural 2007 T20 World Cup. He  thrust a young, inexperienced team to the pinnacle in a format ignored by the bigger guns—Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid, Anil Kumble and Saurav Ganguly.

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Andy Roberts: What he said, really meant and definitely did not


Munaf Patel at Adelaide Oval

What he said:

“But now, he[Munaf Patel] is spinning the ball.”

Andy Roberts says that Indian pace bowlers cut down on pace at international level, becoming slower and slower over the years.He believe that they are transformed into line-and-length bowlers by their coaches.

What he really meant:

“Anil Kumble can bowl as quick as Munaf.”

What he definitely didn’t:

“That’s the reason why the West Indies have slower pitches in recent times.”

Could Murali Kartik have made a difference to India’s World Cup campaign?


Murali Kartik bowling for Somerset during a Co...

Image via Wikipedia

For Indian cricket fans who prefer to catch World Cup updates on the telly rather than on the internet, there exists one show that differentiates itself from the rest.

It is CNN-IBN’s Kings Of Cricket—featuring Sir Vivian Richards, Imran Khan, Allan Border, Chris Cairns, Anil Kumble, Zaheer Abbas, Murali Kartik, Kirti Azad and Harsha Bhogle.

The term ‘Kings Of Cricket’ is apt when applied to Richards,the original Khan,Allan Border and maybe even Anil Kumble. The former three are legends of the game and  have played in and/or captained World Cup winning sides.

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Indian cricket: Of team selections and plate to cup journey for Rajasthan in Ranji


Piyush Chawla at Adelaide Oval

Image via Wikipedia

The debate rages on.

Have the Indian selectors chosen the best possible side for the ODI World Cup?

The argument centres on whether there ought to have been a back-up keeper. MS Dhoni—as captain and stumper—shoulders a heavy responsibility.

To his credit, he has borne the burden well and there is no reason to believe that he will not do the same in February-March—should he remain fit.

As for the pessimists, they will wonder who will keep wickets if Dhoni is forced to miss a match.

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