It was in June last year that Anil Kumble took over as the Head Coach of the Indian team. Call it the Ides of June if you may, but exactly a year later, Kumble is out. Seventeen Tests, 13 ODIs (including the recent ICC Champions Trophy) and three T20 Internationals was the period for which he was in charge. And what happened during that period?
India won 12 Tests and lost one. In the eight ODIs, India won five and in the T20Is, they won two and lost two. The results speak for themselves but Kumble would be the last person to believe that he waved his magic wand and all the victories came. Rather he'd be the first to come out and admit that it was the players who made it all possible, but let there be no doubt that just as Kumble planned every one of his 956 international wickets, he had a big hand in planning those Indian performances too.
Two things stand out during Kumble's short time as coach. First, was his handling of Cheteshwar Pujara, someone whom skipper Virat Kohli had publicly termed a 'slow coach'. Pujara was left out of a Test in the West Indies but out came Kumble with a statement defending Pujara's approach. Kumble was very clear that he had no problem with Pujara's rate of scoring and encouraged him. Pujara responded with seven half-tons, three centuries and one double hundred.
Then there was the Dharamsala Test. Kohli was out with an injury and Ajinkya Rahane was in charge. It was the series-deciding Test and yet Kumble persuaded Rahane to include mystery spinner Kuldeep Yadav in the playing eleven. Kohli admitted that it was the coach, who put forward the suggestion to play the debutant despite the extreme pressure situation the home team was in. The young debutant turned the Test on its head with his first bowl in Test cricket, again justifying Kumble's backing. Unfortunately all that didn't matter in the end.
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