Bangalore: On a rainy Wednesday, the weather outside may have been dark and gloomy but inside the Indian dressing room, it was warm and welcoming. After all, the man being welcomed had seen it all and done it all as a player.
India coach Anil Kumble (left) with batting coach Sanjay Bangar on Day One of the preparatory camp ahead of the West Indies tour, in Bangalore yesterday. Pics/PTI
For Anil Kumble, the newly-appointed Indian coach, it wasn't quite a first day at an established school for a new teacher. I was more like an alumni returning to share his expertise at his alma mater.
How fortunate for him that it was all happening in his hometown and at a stadium he had first stepped into as a cub cricketer, went on to lead his country in before going on to rule as the state association's president.
"Today was just a welcome meeting," said Kumble at his first official media interaction since taking over as coach. "Like I am talking to you all now, I spoke of how much of a privilege it is to be again part of the Indian team that I can share my experiences with them," he said, the joy at being back with the Indian team set-up, very evident.
'The start was good and very welcoming'
"The start was good and very welcoming and in the next five-six days, there will be a lot of interactions," said Kumble. "I also spoke to MS (Dhoni) after he came back from Zimbabwe and although it was only over the phone, I did speak at length to him. So, I'm really looking forward to working with both MS and Virat (Kohli)."
Murali Vijay (left) takes a selfie with teammates Shardul Thakur, Amit Mishra and Mohammed Shami (right) in B'lore yesterday
Having been a part of many an Indian dressing room as a player, walking in as the team coach would surely have been different. "It's nice, but I guess no different. Obviously, you know the roles and boundaries as coach. Other than that, it's no different," he explained.
"All of us want Indian cricket to be doing really well, and these are exciting times. I feel privileged to be a part of that journey. It was no different walking into a meeting room with the entire team, although the faces were different.
"I've played with some of them; I've mentored a couple of them in various capacities. To be back in the changing room is always special," he said.
In many ways though, Kumble didn't really go anywhere, having stayed connected to the game in one capacity or the other. "I have been fortunate that way. I have been part of the ICC, so I know what the thinking for the future is, what the youngsters are looking at. I have been part of the IPL, I have travelled with the youngsters. I have kids who are teenagers, who are beyond teenage.
"So I understand the pressures of being a parent and also the current generation. In terms of cricket, I'm sure I'm close to the game, the modern game. And I'm sure I can blend my experiences in putting across to youngsters of today. The communication that needs to be given to a youngster today... I think I can do that." Sure he can, that and more.