Kolkata, June 29 (IANS) With Anil Kumble’s selection as the national team’s head coach by three of his celebrated peers, and another of their fancied colleagues looking after the youngsters, the golden generation of Indian cricket has again come together post-retirement to reshape the destiny of the game in the country.
While cricketing legend Rahul Dravid is now the coach of the India-A and Under-19 sides, Sachin Tendulkar, Sourav Ganguly and V.V.S Laxman sat on the all-powerful advisory panel that selected the bespectacled former leggie Kumble for the hot seat last week.
The quintet, who shared the Indian dressing room for over a decade in the 1990s and 2000s, are not only revered for their on-field exploits and clean image but also hailed for the laurels they helped the country win on foreign soil as also across the domestic grounds for years.
Tendulkar, rated by the great Don Bradman as one who played like him, dominated World cricket for 24 years, pocketing almost all batting records.
Kumble served the country for 17 years between 1990 and 2007, picking up 956 international scalps, and is the highest Indian wicket-taker in both Test matches and One-Day Internationals.
Dravid, affectionately called the Mr. Dependable of Indian batting, was known for his technical correctness and copybook cricket, besides being acknowledged as one of the greatest willowers of all times.
Ganguly, a talismanic left-hand batsman and one of India’s all-time best captains, was famous for his never-say-die attitude. He is regarded as one who moulded the team at the turn of the century into a tough fighting unit that consistently tasted success abroad.
Laxman, a stylish batsman par excellence, was known for his delectable wrist play and exquisite timing, but never got to play the World Cup.
The early years of the millennium saw India attain success aplenty. They gunned down the all-conquering Australian team of Steve Waugh, almost won the World Cup in 2003 and defeated Pakistan in Pakistan.
When India triumphed in the 2011 World Cup, captain M.S. Dhoni readily acknowledged the contribution of Tendulkar (who was part of the winning team), Kumble, Ganguly and Dravid in building the side.
“The best part is I have played with three of them and also Rahul who is India-A and Under-19 coach; so it will be great to have the five of us again, looking at how we can get together to take Indian cricket forward,” Kumble said in an interview after his selection.
Ganguly is now also the president of the Cricket Association of Bengal, while Laxman is the side’s batting consultant.
Former Indian skipper Kris Srikkanth feels the legendary leg-spinner was the right man to be selected for the job.
“It is a very good decision. He has got experience, he is a former captain. He is an all-time great, so he knows the tactics. Kumble knows how to communicate with the players and most important thing is that he has played in the recent past with some of the players who are playing now,” Srikkanth told IANS.
“He knows the modern day cricketing conditions and most importantly man-management. He is a very calm person and the right man for the job.”
Former India batsman Devang Gandhi believes it is the return of the golden generation of cricketers who had once ruled the roost in Indian cricket.
“You can term it that way, but it’s in different capacities in different roles. The three people you mentioned were given the opportunity to pick the right guy and they have. The man has been a fighter, he has been the most successful Indian bowler and had all the credentials to be the coach,” Gandhi said.
Bengal’s Ranji Trophy winning captain Sambaran Banerjee said Kumble was the best available to the selection panel.
“He was the best candidate. He is very hardworking, No doubt about his capability, he is the best man for the post. I think Sachin-Sourav, Laxman have done a wonderful job,” he said.
Ex-India player Ashok Malhotra too echoed Banerjee’s sentiments saying: “I am sure he will coach the same way just like the way he has played cricket. I am sure the panel selected him on the basis of the presentation he made.”
(Debdoot Das can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org <mailto:email@example.com>)