Anil Kumble, known for his amazing work ethics during his playing days, on Thursday was named by the Board of Control for Cricket in India as 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.
Kumble, 45, was chosen by the BCCI’s Cricket Advisory Committee that included former captains Sourav Ganguly, Sachin Tendulkar and veteran batting star VVS Laxman. Former BCCI secretary and cricketer Sanjay Jagdale was the coordinator.
The name of the head coach was made by BCCI president Anurag Thakur in Dharamsala. “It was a transparent process and we wanted to pick the best after discussing with all stakeholders,” he said.
The post of the 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 the 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 132 Tests, 271 ODIs, and 54 T20 Internationals wise – 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.
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.