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Anil Kumble didn't want a bowling coach: Ajay Shirke

BCCI secretary says Team India’s new coach did not feel the need have a specialist for bowlers on the West Indies tour since the legendary spinner himself is in charge; Bangar, Sharma retained

Anil Kumble seems to have already bowled over the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) before the legendary leg-spinner embarks on his first assignment as Team India’s coach.

Anil Kumble
Anil Kumble at his Bangalore residence on Thursday after his appointment as Team India’s coach. Pic/PTI

With next month’s West Indies tour close at hand, BCCI’s first task was to appoint the head coach which they did on Thursday.
However, the BCCI bigwigs decided to take more time before selecting Kumble’s support staff. On Saturday, the BCCI chose to retain the same support staff — Sanjay Bangar (batting coach) and Abhay Sharma (fielding coach) — from the recent successful tour to Zimbabwe, for the West Indies series.

Ajay Shirke
Ajay Shirke, BCCI secy

There was no announcement of a bowling coach on the insistence of Kumble. “There will be no bowling coach for the tour,” BCCI secretary Ajay Shirke told mid-day.

“Anil himself is one of the greatest bowlers. He insisted on not having a bowling coach for the West Indies tour since he is in charge,” Shirke added.

By retaining the same support staff from the last tour, it is a clear indication that the BCCI wants to deliberate further before appointing Kumble’s permanent support staff members.

Shirke, however, remained non-committal. “We will see after the West Indies tour,” he said. Bangar (as interim coach) and Sharma were part of the Zimbabwe tour where a second-string Indian team led by MS Dhoni won the ODI series 3-0 and the T20I series 2-1.

The coaching staff will come together for the first time during a short camp in Bangalore, starting June 28 before leaving for the Caribbean for four Tests.

Bangar has been India’s batting coach since Ravi Shastri’s time as Team Director from 2014. It is learnt Sharma is a strong favourite for the fielding coach job under Kumble because of his innovative fielding drills which has been appreciated by many players on the Zimbabwe tour.

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