Who will become the next India coach? Anil Kumble or Ravi Shastri? The drama finally will come to an end this evening as the announcement will be done today.
An interesting Wednesday began with Kumble being the frontrunner, and then a suspenseful wait which brought back Ravi Shastri in the picture. On Tuesday evening, Kumble shared his own vision with former team-mates, Sourav Ganguly, Sachin Tendulkar and VVS Laxman; while Shastri had made his point clear with a video interaction.
It’s probably the second-most top-priority job in our country. With may be the burden of pleasing more people than even the prime minister has to do.
So, when the Indian cricket team’s coaching job is offered to one of India’s most beloved cricketing souls, there will obviously be expectations of high octane.
Anil Kumble may have been relatively a late entrant into the long list of candidates for the Indian coaching job but his outstanding pedigree and vision to make the team successful abroad may now have given him the steering wheel of Indian cricket.
What sets apart Anil Kumble from the other candidates is definitely his list of achievements as a player.
He became an institution with his hard work, work ethic, and diligence. His ‘never back down’ like outstanding ability marked him out from the other Indian cricketers. Whenever the team looked for someone who has stumbled, got up and achieved great feats and then taught the same to the youngsters, then Kumble has to be your man.
Anil Kumble’s match winning credentials, wicket-taking abilities including the ten-wicket haul are all now a significant part of this country’s cricketing folklore. The famous image of him bowling with a bandage all over his face in 2002 at Antigua is still recalled even by the young generation as a moment of grit.
But it’s not the numbers, Kumble’s most successful achievement was to reinvent his inner abilities time to time, just like he displayed from the 2003-04 Australia tour onwards. It showed a great character who even in that stage was always eager to evolve and imbibe. Towards the end, his calm composure and demeanour as India Test skipper particularly on the bank of the Monkeygate scandal in 2007-08 is still lauded by every cricket lover.
So, the man who is holding a CV like his , it is really difficult to overlook Kumble as he reportedly has taken the lead to become India’s next head coach, leaving behind Ravi Shastri
In the coming days when the Test squad will feature some uncertain inexperienced youngsters and an over the top skipper like Virat Kohli, Anil Kumble looks to be the balm which will soothe the nerves.
Kumble still enjoys the stature and the position in Indian cricket to persuade a young team to learn the basics from him. He has always been there and done that. To be frank, he had to encounter more failures than successes, so he has the credibility to understand the mindset of an average young Indian cricketer.
Meanwhile, Ravi Shastri has given some impressive results as well. Two Test series victory against Sri Lanka and South Africa, reaching the World Cup semi-final and then the World T20 semi-final, India enjoyed a decent run of form under the former all-rounder.
Keeping his focus more on the mental aspect of playing, Shastri is definitely a unique blend of a coach who can lead any youngster and a manager who always keeps in mind how to the comfort the players off the field. From defending his boys at disciplinary hearings to quickly arrange an impromptu surprising dinner, Ravi Shastri has always prioritised the team’s best interests.
Even players have been quite impressed to see Shastri’s great technical knowledge. Suresh Raina had also acknowledged that his shot-making through cover and mid-off has improved as he changed his stance last year after Shastri’s advice.
Despite having the positive aspects Ravi Shastri may well be leapfrogged by Anil Kumble in terms of his visionary approach, not having any prior coaching experience doesn’t stand against him.
Indian cricket would definitely be well served if the reins of the team are handed to a leading figure like Anil Kumble. If you have to test the theory of opposites attract, then it can be in no better time than this with Kumble as head coach and Kohli as captain.
Both look as different as chalk and cheese, most probably making it the perfect combination to take Indian cricket move forward.