Anil Kumble addressed the media in his first official press conference as coach of Team India in Bengaluru on Wednesday.
Last week, Kumble was appointed as coach of the national side for one year. He pipped early favourite Ravi Shastri, who took over as team director during Duncan Fletcher’s term, and who had the backing of Test Captain Virat Kohli for this position.
Here are some of the highlights from the conference:
1. “Win or lose, the fighting spirit will always be there,” when asked what he will bring to Team India.
2. “I want the Team India bowling group to believe that they are leaders.”
3. “Captain will take the call on the field, I will only assist him.”
4. “Whatever it takes to popularise Test cricket, we are ready for that, so is the BCCI”
5. “Players will be in front. The coaching and support staff will be in the background.”
6. “We are considering options for bowling coach but right now I can get closer to the boys.”
7. “I’ve spoken to Dhoni and Virat about the roadmap for the future.”
8. “Being back in the Indian dressing room is special.”
9. “I was the first one to call Ravi [Shastri] when I was chosen as coach. He did a fantastic job. It’s not about Ravi or Anil; whoever it is, it’s about the Indian team doing well, performing to its best.”
10. “Ishant Sharma will lead the bowling on West Indies tour.”
BCCI had put out an advertisement for the post in early June for which they received 57 applications. Interestingly, Kumble’s name was missing from the list which was pruned to 21 after screening.
But the Cricket Advisory Committee, consisting of Sourav Ganguly, Sachin Tendulkar and VVS Laxman —Kumble’s past teammates — asked the BCCI to include the legspinner’s name on the list. Ganguly in fact flew into Dharamsala last Thursday along with BCCI secretary Ajay Shirke to bat for Kumble in front of BCCI president Anurag Thakur. Withing days after his appointment, Kumble dismissed reports of conflict of interest between his new job and his involvement in sports management company TENVIC and his role as chairman of ICC’s Cricket Committee. “There is absolutely no conflict of interest. All things have been addressed,” Kumble said. “There is the ICC cricket committee, for which I will not be able to dedicate as much time. However, I see no reason why I cannot continue as its chairman. There are other national coaches like Darren Lehmann on the committee,” he was quoted.