Anil Kumble Beats Ravi Shastri To Be Appointed India apos;s New Chief Coach
India's leading Test wicket-taker Anil Kumble has beaten former team director Ravi Shastri in the race to become the new chief coach of the Indian national cricket team.
But Kumble's journey from retirement to the hot-seat at the centre-stage of world cricket has come with a little help from his friends.
Sourav Ganguly, one of India's most successful captains, believed in Kumble and ensured that his former teammate was included in the second screening of applications and interviews in Kolkata, even though the former leg-spinner was reportedly not part of the initial 21 applicants selected by BCCI secretary Ajay Shirke.
India's leading Test wicket-taker Anil Kumble has beaten former team director Ravi Shastri to become the chief coach of the Indian national cricket team
The guidelines of the selection process contained the clause that the committee - comprising Sachin Tendulkar, VVS Laxman, Sanjay Jagdale and Ganguly - could decide to call anyone outside the 21 shortlisted - and this clause paved the way for Kumble's return to contention.
Once Kumble impressed every member of the cricket advisory committee during the presentation and interview round with his clarity and vision, Ganguly just needed to convince BCCI chief Anurag Thakur, which he did on Thursday morning.
Sourav 'Dada' Ganguly might have last led the national team in 2005, but he showed on Thursday that he still knows how to get the job done.
VVS Laxman (left) Anil Kumble, Sourav Ganguly and Sachin Tendulkar (right) were part of a golden generation of Indian cricketers now influencing the game from behind the scenes
Coming out of the interview sessions in Kolkata on Tuesday, Ganguly made it clear that the panel had made its decision, and the name would be forwarded to Thakur for an official announcement on Friday.
But then an email from the BCCI on Wednesday stated that further deliberations with various stakeholders were needed before a final decision was taken.
The email confirmed rumours that certain sections in the Board and the team were backing Shastri and wanted him at the helm despite the cricket committee recommending Kumble's name.
Sourav Ganguly ensured that Kumble was included in the second screening of applications and interviews in Kolkata.
Sachin Tendulkar was among those with initial reservations about the appointment.
To everyone's surprise, Thakur announced on Thursday morning - in Dharamsala - that a final announcement would be brought forward from Friday to Thursday evening.
It is believed that the morning was kept clear for deliberations between Ganguly and Thakur, in the presence of Shirke.
A senior BCCI official told Mail Today that it was Ganguly who convinced the BCCI top boss that having Kumble as the chief coach would be a step in the right direction, even though a few others favoured Shastri.
"While Ganguly and Laxman were certain that Kumble was the right choice, Tendulkar was in two minds. Kohli and a few others believed that continuing with Shastri would help. But Ganguly not only convinced Tendulkar, but also Thakur that Kumble should be made the new chief coach," he said.
It shows that while Kohli might be the biggest figure in Indian cricket when it comes to on-field matters, Ganguly still has a very big say off the field and behind the scenes.
Anil Kumble speaking to the media after being appointed India's new chief coach
Anil 'Jumbo' Kumble led from the front during 'Monkey-gate'
Chetan Chauhan was team manager when Harbhajan Singh used racist language towards an Australian player
Anil Kumble was the captain of the team when the ‘Monkey-gate' episode rocked relations between India and Australia in 2008.
The Australian media was after Indian off-spinner Harbhajan Singh for allegedly calling Australia all-rounder Andrew Symonds a monkey.
According to the then team manager Chetan Chauhan, it was Kumble who stood by Harbhajan and the rest of the team and didn't let them get affected by the unedifying episode.
Speaking to Mail Today, Chauhan said it was during that tour that the former India opener realised Kumble was a born leader.
"He kept the team together and refused to budge. While the BCCI also stood by us, Kumble kept the team together. He ensured that the team continued training and there was no distraction.
"He didn't let the situation get the better of a player like Harbhajan. He showed that he was a true leader.
The team always needs people like these in the dressing room and I think that he is the perfect choice for the coach's role. I wish him all the best," he said.
In fact, Chauhan feels that Kumble will form a formidable partnership with Test captain Virat Kohli as both of them are equally aggressive.
"Even though Kumble was a spinner, he was always a very aggressive person on the field and I feel this is where there is a connect between Kumble and Kohli as both will look to go for http://geekiwiki.com/index.php?title=West_Indies_V_India_-_Second_World_T20_Semi-final the kill.
I think they will complement each other," he said.
Azharuddin says Kumble should be given more than just one year
Mohammad Azharuddin feels that the one-year contract handed to Kumble is unfairly short
Even as people are busy debating whether Anil Kumble was the right candidate for the chief coach's job or Ravi Shastri would have been a better choice, former India skipper Mohammad Azharuddin feels that the one-year tenure handed to the former leg-spinner is not an ideal scenario.
Speaking to Mail Today, Azharuddin, who was Kumble's first captain in the national team, feels Kumble deserved a longer rope as it takes a year to understand how things function and what the strengths and weaknesses of different players are.
"While I think Kumble is a great choice. The 17 or 18 years of experience that he has had at the international level will definitely help the team. But I don't think that giving him a one-year tenure was a good decision. I don't know the thought behind it, but I feel that it takes a year to know your players inside out and then also get the desired results.
"Maybe a slightly longer tenure would have helped as even before he settles down and earns the trust and respect of his players, his tenure is over," he said.
Even though it is obvious that Shastri was Kohli's preferred choice, Azhar feels that it shouldn't be the captain's prerogative to decide on the coach.
"There can't be any favouritism when it comes to the coach because the person is appointed coach of the whole team and not just one or two individuals.
The coach should be picked by the Board and the committee appointed. At the end of the day, it is about picking the individual who will benefit the team," he said.
Mail Today was the first to report Anil Kumble's sharp rise from rank outsider to become India's next coach