Tuesday, 05 March 2024
I'll be like an elder brother to the boys: Anil Kumble

I'll be like an elder brother to the boys: Anil Kumble

Coaching the Indian cricket team is one of the high-pressure jobs in the world. The expectations that comes with the team is enormous but Anil Kumble, the newly-appointed chief coach , is up for the task.

The former India Test captain said he would take a friendly approach rather than dictate his wards as he believes the rigid approach will not work with the high-profile side. Calling it a new beginning of his career, Kumble said he was excited about his new role. Excerpts...

How does it feel to be back in the Team India dressing room as a head coach?
It's a great honour. I know it's a huge challenge, a huge responsibility. There'll be a lot of expectations. I'm looking forward to contributing back to Indian cricket and I felt this was the right time for me to get involved.

You have mentored RCB and Mumbai Indians but never coached any side. How prepared are you now?
Yes, it is very different. Obviously I will learn a lot. I know that coaching is very different from playing. I've realized that over the last five years I've had some success and I've learnt from some of the mistakes. I'll use all those learnings as well. I always believe that the team is first and the coach's role is to ensure that the team prepares to the best of its ability for all adversities. And that's all I'll look to do, in terms of what we can try and achieve. We'll be able to get the players in the best possible condition, and it's a very different feeling to be part of the set-up again.

You will be in charge of the team for one year, do you have a long-term plan?
We can put together a proper plan for the next three years. Of course I'm in charge for one year, but I think it's important to plan beyond that as well. And that's what I presented - a three-year plan that took care of the FTP as of today, various challenges the team has, and how to address that, and how to plan to bridge whatever gaps there are. Those are few of the things I will discuss in detail with the players when I meet them.

What are changes you have in mind?
This is a young team with a lot of potential. They've shown in the recent past that they're capable of beating big sides. It's too early for me to say anything. Yes I have plans, I've laid out some blueprints, but at the end of it the team has to buy in and that's what I'm really looking forward to. I had a chat with Virat. Once MS (Dhoni) returns from Zimbabwe I'll have a chat with him as well.

What are your immediate priorities?
This is a young team. I certainly believe that as a coach of a young team, you need to be hands-on and you need to really get your hands dirty as well - train with them, be a part of their training. And be with them more like an elder brother, in every aspect, not just on the field, but also off it. That's something I will be focusing on. There's a camp here in Bengaluru. It'll be nice to get to know these players. I know all of them obviously. I've worked with a few of them, played with a couple of them. It'll be a new beginning.

Can you point out some key points from your presentation made to the Cricket Advisory Committee?
A lot of people have been talking about this presentation but it's just a plan. It needs inputs from other people as well. It's nice, now I'm coach of the national team, my long-time colleague Rahul (Dravid) is in charge of the junior team, and the three advisors are people I've played a lot of cricket with. I believe that we have a good set of people. And of course there are other stakeholders as well.

Have you set any targets in your first assignment to the West Indies?
It's too early. I don't want to get into those specifics. I'm looking forward to meeting all the players and then understand each other. The camp is starting on June 29, that's what I've been told.

-Sunil Subbaiah