After a gap of nearly three months, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) yesterday finally zeroed-in on their candidate for the India chief coach's job. However, former India captain Anil Kumble's appointment as chief coach of Team India is only for a year.
During the media conference in Dharamsala yesterday, BCCI president Anurag Thakur said that Kumble's performance would be "reviewed after one year".
Interestingly, in Kumble's one-year tenure, India will mostly play at home (13 Tests, eight ODIs & three T20Is in 2016-17 season) and will hardly feature overseas (four-Test series in the West Indies next month and ICC Champions Trophy in England in 2017).
India are masters at winning in home conditions, but it's the results overseas that the Men in Blue need in their favour.
And rightly so, experts believe the forthcoming season may not be a good enough indicator to evaluate coach Kumble's impact on Team India?
Former India wicketkeeper and chairman of selectors, Kiran More felt winning at home is equally challenging. "While winning at home is expected, it is not an easy task.
Otherwise, we would have won the World T20 this year. Yes, you have the advantage of home conditions, but winning at home is also important and we cannot ignore that. Winning overseas is a bonus because if you do well in foreign conditions, you get that respect," More said from Bangalore.
More wanted to see Kumble getting a longer tenure though. "Of course, one year is too short a time. You cannot build a team and cannot judge a coach as well in that period. I hope he gets a longer tenure which will ultimately happen. He may not fit into the criteria laid down and also does not have any coaching experience, but his understanding of the game is phenomenal and that is why he has got the job. It's a good decision," More said.
Former India coach Anshuman Gaekwad also felt that the BCCI would eventually give Kumble more than a year in the position. "I think this (one-year period) is just for the sake of it. I am sure he will get more time than that. It is just a matter of time," said Gaekwad.
Former India skipper and team manager Ajit Wadekar did not see the one-year contract as a hindrance. "It's a bit short, but I am sure they (the BCCI) will give him more time. He is the best choice at the moment," said Wadekar.
BCCI Secretary Ajay Shirke explained the reason for appointing Anil Kumble for only a year as India coach. "He is transforming from being a great on the cricket field to probably becoming a great coach. That transition has to be smooth. This is a professional appointment and that's the reason we want to be in a position to review our options. I am confident we won't need to," said Shirke. It is learnt that Kumble's lack of experience in coaching a team is the reason for restricting the former India skipper's appointment to a year initially.