Mumbai: A force to be reckoned with at home, India’s test side have struggled away from the subcontinent in recent years and new coach Anil Kumble has put top priority on building a team that can travel with confidence.
Kumble, India’s most successful bowler, was given a one-year term as head coach on Thursday with the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) putting their faith in the 45-year-old despite his lack of coaching experience.
The BCCI received 57 applications for the job, which were then made available to an advisory panel that included former captains Sachin Tendulkar and Sourav Ganguly and former batsman VVS Laxman—all of whom have played with Kumble.
Kumble’s coaching experience has been limited to being a mentor to the Mumbai and Bangalore teams in the Indian Premier League (IPL) T20 tournament, and he said his first job interview was a “nerve-racking" experience.
“It was very different because this was the first (job) interview that I was attending," Kumble said. “My colleagues who I have played with throughout my career were on the other side of the table.
“It was very strange. It was quite nerve-racking."
While the Indian team under Virat Kohli won test series in Sri Lanka and beat South Africa 3-0 at home, their record outside the subcontinent in the longest format has been poor.
They have lost test series in South Africa, New Zealand, England and Australia on tours since late 2013, something Kumble wants to rectify.
“The focus will be on our overseas record," Kumble told the board’s website (www.bcci.tv). “The mindset ... I believe we need to start looking to address that from home itself.
“So when we sit down we will look to make a plan and ensure that we train towards achieving those goals."
The Indian test team will have a camp in Bengaluru before heading to the Caribbean for a four-test series against West Indies, which will be Kumble’s first assignment.
“It’s nice to have a camp in Bengaluru. We will sit down and iron out our plans and be ready for West Indies," said the former leg-spinner, who took 619 wickets in 132 tests and 337 from 271 one-day internationals.
“Getting 20 wickets in test cricket will win you matches and that will be the focus," he said, adding that he wanted to work in the background and take the pressure off his captain’s shoulders, both on an off the field.
“I believe this team has the potential. It’s a young team and it’s driven by a young leader and it will be nice to work with Virat (Kohli)."
India are set for a bumper season at home with 13 test matches, eight ODIs and three T20 internationals.
They start with three tests against New Zealand in October while England and Australia will play five and four matches respectively. Bangladesh will play a one-off test. Reuters