Kumble named Team Indian head coach

Bengaluru, June 23: Upbeat on leading the Indian cricket team off the field as its head coach, ace leggie Anil Kumble is ready for the new role.

“I am ready to take the new role, as I have always put my hands up for any sort of challenge,” the 45-year-old former captain and India’s highest wicket-taker told reporters after the Board of Control for Cricket in India, after its meeting in Dharamshala, appointed him for the high-profile job for one year.

Admitting that coaching the Indian team was a huge responsibility, he said he would be in the background, as players came first for him.

“It’s the players who come first and the coach’s role is always in the background,” a beaming Kumble said at his residence, with his family members in tow.

Terming the new job as a great honour to be in the dressing room again but in a different avatar, the right-arm leg spinner said he was humbled by the decision and thanked the advisory committee for selecting him for the top coaching post.

The board’s advisory committee’s three members are batting maestro Sachin Tendulkar, former captain Sourav Ganguly and veteran batsman V.V.S. Laxman; who interviewed 21 shortlisted candidates out of a total of 57 applicants.

Shortly after BCCI President Anurag Thakur pronounced his name as the next head coach for a year, a jubiliant Kumble said it is time to give back to the game.

“It’s time to give back to Indian cricket. It’s a great honour to be again back in the Indian dressing room and in a different role.

“This is a great time for Indian cricket. I have played for long with Sachin, Sourav, V.V.S. and Rahul (Dravid), who is guiding the junior team. The five of us share a wonderful relation on and off the field,” Kumble said.

Kumble will start coaching the Virat Kohli-led team for the upcoming four Test series in West Indies from July 21 to August 22.

Kumble, is best remembered for his 10 wickets in an innings during the second Test against Pakistan at the Ferozshah Kotla Stadium here in 1999, said his strategy will be to win games.

“The strategy obviously will be to win. I have a short and long-term plan for the upcoming series. I need to sit with the players and discuss the plans, which I cannot do alone without them and the supporting staff,” he said.

Kumble, who retired from first class cricket in 2008, was also president of the Karnataka State Cricket Association (KSCA) for three years along with former speedster Javagal Srinath as secretary from 2010-2013.

He led the host team Royal Challengers Bangalore in the Indian Premier League (IPL) T-20 series from 2008-10 and as mentor for it and Mumbai Indians subsequently till 2015.

“Though I was away from home for 18 long years, travelling and playing in the country and overseas, my family supported my decision to be a coach, which means going back to the dressing room and travelling a lot again,” Kumble added.

Making his debut in 1990 against England, the six-feet tall Kumble played 132 Tests till 2008 and 271 One-Day Internationals till 2007, taking a record 619 wickets in Tests, including 10 in a match eight times and 337 wickets in ODIs

India is set to host 13 Test matches, eight One Day Internationals (ODI) and three T20 Internationals during the 2016-17 season and Kumble’s major task will be to guide the team in clinching the top rank in all three formats.

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