It had to ultimately come down to a toss-up between two ex-captains: Ravi Shastri and Anil Kumble. Both were outstanding cricketers and performed with much pride and honour for the country. If Kumble was a match-winner on Indian pitches and performed creditably abroad, Shastri’s centuries against the four mean fast bowlers of West Indies was no less inspiring. At his peak, he was one of the best all-rounders in ODI cricket.
But finally it was former India captain Anil Kumble ,who has been appointed coach of the national side for one year, the BCCI announced on Thursday. His first assignment will be India’s four-Test tour of the West Indies.
The BCCI put out an advertisement for a new coach in the first week of June and received 57 applications, including Kumble’s. However, it appears he was not among the 21 names shortlisted by the BCCI secretary Ajay Shirke’s office. The Cricket Advisory Committee, comprising Sachin Tendulkar, Sourav Ganguly and VVS Laxman, assigned to pick India’s next coach asked for Kumble’s name to be included, at which point he became an instant favourite.
The committee interviewed Kumble and a handful of other candidates in Kolkata on Tuesday, and on Wednesday, they made their recommendations to the BCCI. Thakur, along with Shirke, made the final call.
“The CAC recommended a few names to the BCCI. After discussions with various stakeholders, we have taken the final call that for next one year Anil Kumble will be the head coach.” Thakur said at a media briefing in Dharamsala. He added the support staff would be appointed after consulting with Kumble.
Kumble applying for the job was a surprise to many in the BCCI, considering he has not coached a cricket team before. The BCCI had preferred their candidates to have had that experience, but his pedigree as a player and two stints as mentor in the IPL worked in Kumble’s favour.
The BCCI offered Kumble a one-year term to help him acclimatise to the job better and to give themselves the cushion to reassess if needed.
“As for the one-year period, Kumble is now transforming himself from being a great on the cricketing field to probably becoming a great coach that we expect him to be. That transition has to be smooth. This is professional appointment. All professional appointments try to cover all bases. Therefore that is the reason we want to be able to be in a position to review our options should there be any need. I am confident that we will not have that need to address that need. That is the exact reason behind the one-year appointment.”
Anil Kumble said he is looking forward in the new challenge. He said,”It’s a great honour. I know it’s a huge challenge, a huge responsibility. There’ll be a lot of expectations. I’m looking forward to contributing back to Indian cricket and I felt this was the right time for me to get involved”. He also mentioned in quite an Indian style of mentoring that he would be like an elder to the boys.
Sounds very promising and it will be interesting to see Indian team perform under Anil Kumble in the test dominating cricketing season.