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Former Indian spinner Pragyan Ojha has revealed that ex-captain Anil Kumble used to be very aggressive on the field. In fact, Ojha stated that not only Kumble used to be aggressive against the opposition but also with his own players. It was noticed that Kumble hated if his teammate would misfield on his bowling. Kumble was known to give his all on the field and he expected the same from his players.
The legendary spinner was known to be aggressive in his own way but he would never adopt sledging methods against the opposition. Kumble however would not back away to let his players if they were lacking in effort. The leg-spinner wanted to give his 120% and there was no scope of leniency in his game.
Anil Kumble was known for his competitiveness
Ojha, who has played under the leadership of Anil Kumble, recalled the days. The left-arm spinner added that he was surprised to see such a drastic change as Kumble will always be calm and composed off the field but he was a fierce competitor on the field.
“When he was on the ground, Kumble used to be very aggressive, both with the opponent and with his own players,” Ojha told Wisden in an interview. “Off the field, you won’t be able to relate. I was taken aback, ‘Am I talking to the same person who I saw on the ground?’ He used to compete hard, but off the field, he was very soft-spoken.”
On the other hand, Pragyan Ojha also heaped praise on Sachin Tendulkar. In fact, Ojha had scalped a 10-wicket haul against the West Indies in Sachin’s swansong match. But, surprisingly, he didn’t get a chance to play for the national side after that game. Ojha also spoke about Virat Kohli, MS Dhoni and his Hyderabad teammate VVS Laxman.
“Sachin paaji [Tendulkar] used to be very calm, composed. He never used to give any reaction. He had a different approach. Anil bhai had a different approach. [MS] Dhoni and Kohli, they want to win games for the country, but their approach is completely different,” he said.
“Someone like VVS Laxman would listen to Suprabhatam [a collection of Sanskrit hymns] and then go and bat. That is his aggression. Someone like a Kohli will be listening to loud, Punjabi music, showing body language – not gestures – and he likes to show he is in your face. It is not wrong in any way, it was just different.”
India has been blessed to have the services of players like Sachin Tendulkar, VVS Laxman, MS Dhoni, and Anil Kumble, who did a fine job in their career. All these big players served Indian cricket for a long time.