Anil Kumble pips Ravi Shastri to be new coach of Indian cricket team

Jun 23, 2016, 17:55 IST | mid-day online correspondent

Former India Test captain Anil Kumble had beaten Ravi Shastri and 55 other applicants to be appointed the new chief coach of Team India. He will hold the post for one year

Former India Test captain Anil Kumble has been appointed the new chief coach of Team India. 

The annoucement was made by the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) on Thursday evening. He will be the coach for one year.

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The Cricket Advisory Committee (CAC) comprising Sachin Tendulkar, Sourav Ganguly and VVS Laxman were impressed by Kumble's presentation and is piped Ravi Shastri to the post.

Anil KumbleAnil Kumble

The CAC interviewed 10 candidates on Tuesday of which three — Kumble, former India batsmen Pravin Amre and Lalchand Rajput — were present in person.

The thrust of the interviews was the success mantra of winning overseas. It is learnt that the CAC will inform Test skipper Virat Kohli of their choice. It was decided that the interviews would not last for more than 20 minutes each, but some of the candidates took over 45 minutes.

The CAC were keen to know from the interviewees about their plans to help Team India win abroad.

The legendary leg-spinner will now have the liberty to choose a separate batting, bowling and fielding coaches of his choice.

Kumble may not have any coaching experience at any level, but he has been a mentor in the IPL, initially with Royal Challengers Bangalore, where he was the captain in 2009 when the franchise finished as runners-up. Later, Kumble served as a mentor at Mumbai Indians.

A true legend on and off the field, Kumble has an enviable record of having taken 956 international wickets (619 in Tests and 337 in ODIs) and having also led India ably.

Kumble's 619 wickets in 132 Tests is a record for Indian bowlers and third highest overall in cricket. He also played 271 ODIs for India during his 18-year international cricket career.

India has a packed schedule with a tour of the West Indies coming up --  it starts next month, where Virat Kohli’s men will play four Tests. India then has a tiring home-season, featuring 13 Tests, with teams from New Zealand, England, Bangladesh and Australia all visiting our shores.

57 people had applied for the post with several big names like Tom Moody, Kumble, Shastri, former Sri Lanka and Pakistan coach Dav Whatmore. Some of the Indian names to have applied for the top job include former seamers Venkatesh Prasad and Balwinder Singh Sandhu, and former left-handed middle-order batsman Hrishikesh Kanitkar.

The Indian head coach's post has been lying vacant since Zimbabwean Duncan Fletcher's contract ended in March 2015 after the ICC Cricket World Cup. The team has been using the services of Shastri as the Team Director in the interim and Sanjay Bangar was given the responsibility of being the coach of the team for the Zimbabwe tour, 

The 45-year-old spin great is the first Indian to be appointed full time India coach since Kapil Dev resigned in September 2000.

"BCCI has been very transparent. We fixed a criteria. There was the CAC as well. They have gone through the process, interviewed and recommended few names. After discussions with various stakeholders, we have decided that Anil Kumble will be the head coach of the Indian cricket team for the next one year," BCCI President Anurag Thakur said in a press conference in Dharamsala.

"It is not about Indian or foreign, it is about who is best for the job. I think we have used the services of best players who have served Indian cricket. There was no such limitation that we have to have only an Indian coach. We wanted the best for the Indian team," he added.

After being appointed Test captain in November 2007, he led India in 14 matches until his retirement a year later.

"After doing discussions with various stakeholders we have selected Anil Kumble for a period of one year," said Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) president Anurag Thakur.

Kumble did not fulfil the BCCI's stated criteria of "having coached an international side", yet he nonetheless managed to sneak past many prominent Indian and foreign candidates.

Thakur said the names of the other support staff will be announced later.

Explaining the decision to appoint Kumble despite his lack of experience as an international coach, Thakur said the former spinner's record itself is a testimony to his worthiness for the job. The BCCI chief said nonetheless, Kumble's performance would be up for a review after one year.

"He has been a match-winner for India. He has a great record and that speaks for Anil Kumble as far as winning matches for India is concerned. His performance will be reviewed after one year," he said.

Thakur said the decision to appoint Kumble was taken after discussion with all the stakeholders. "Mr Kumble is a great cricketer. The CAC looked into all applications, they shortlisted a few names. When the names came to us, we discussed with other stakeholders. We take feedback from all stakeholders. We wanted to be more transparent," he said.

BCCI Secretary Ajay Shirke said the decision to keep Kumble's tenure at one year for the time being has been taken to ensure professionalism.

"This is the first time that we have gone through a process starting with advertisements. It has been a large amount of cricketing process. It has been very elaborate. There were marathon meetings. This is a professional appointment and that is the reason we want to be in a position to review our decision. But I hope that we won't need to do that," he explained.

Shirke also dismissed the charge that since Kumble was running a player management firm, his appointment was open to conflict of interest.

"Conflict of interest has become a fashionable word to use. That has been addressed prior to taking this decision," he said.

Kumble will take charge from the upcoming of tour of West Indies which starts July 9.

"We took feedbacks from various sectors since cricket is followed by millions in India. He will take over from the West Indies tour," Thakur said.

On why Shastri was not picked given that he has been with the team for a long time, Thakur merely said, "Our Indian coaches are good. The team's performance improved after the appointment of Ravi Shastri as team director."

Shirke said there were 11 names in the final list including four foreigners.

(With agency inputs)

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