Team India management need flexibility in selecting XI: Anil Kumble

Indian team management should change their mindset of going in with three pacers and one spinner approach on foreign tours, says former Test skipper Anil Kumble

New Delhi: Former captain Anil Kumble has said that the mindset of the Indian cricket team management must change and there has to be a more flexible approach in selecting the bowlers in the playing XI on overseas tours.

Anil Kumble
Anil Kumble 

The performance of the Indian bowlers in the recent four-Test series in Australia, which they lost 0-2, came for severe criticism, and Kumble felt "some portion of the criticism is justified".

"We have the quality of bowlers, it's just trying to see who can adjust to the Test format and then choosing your best four bowlers who you think can pick up 20 wickets, that's also been an issue," Kumble told ESPNCricinfo.

Kumble said that there has to be flexibility in selecting XIs when on tour as it can't work on the theory of three seamers and one spinner every time. "We have gone into this theory of three seamers and one spinner the moment we sit on an aircraft which travels more than seven hours — that's the mindset...

If your 20 wickets are going to come with two spinners and two fast bowlers, so be it. If it comes with three spinners and one fast bowler so be it," India's highest wicket-taker in Tests and ODIs, pointed out.

Citing the example of the Adelaide Test, where on a track known to favour the batsmen and assist spinners from halfway through the Test, India went in with a single spinner in Karn Sharma. "So who got wickets for Australia then? If you look at the top two bowlers, it was one spinner and one fast bowler," said Kumble.

India pacer Umesh Yadav during the Melbourne Test last month. Pic/Getty Images
India pacer Umesh Yadav during the Melbourne Test last month. Pic/Getty Images 

Australian off-spinner Nathan Lyon was the series' top wicket-taker with 23 wickets. Kumble said that excess of limited-overs cricket have led to the Indian bowlers "not being that disciplined in their approach to bowling when it comes to Tests.

"You are constantly thinking of pre-empting a batsman because you think he will play this shot — that's what you do in one-day cricket. You are always guessing and trying to out-guess the batsman.

In Test cricket you need to bowl line and length - it is that simple - and keep repeating the same thing. That will only come with playing more of this format, and that will only come with what kind of an approach (you have) prior to heading off (on tour).

'It's about building pressure'
"It's the simple thing that needs to be considered. Test cricket is all about building pressure and how you can sustain it, the longer you can sustain the pressure, the more successful you can be," explained Kumble.

Umesh Yadav's economy rate in the just-concluded Test vs Australia is the worst by an Indian bowler (min 600 balls) — the third worst in a Test series

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