Kumble downplays Shastri controversy
Bengaluru: Downplaying the controversy surrounding his appointment as the new India head coach ahead of Ravi Shastri, former skipper Anil Kumble on Wednesday said that the team is much bigger than both of them.
"It's not about Ravi or Anil. We all want the Indian team to do well. Ravi had done a great job as the team director. Today it is me, tomorrow can be another man. I was the first man to call Ravi and he congratulated me," said Kumble while addressing his first press conference since being appointed at the helm last week.
Shastri, who was the team director until the end of the World Twenty20 campaign, was among the frontrunners before Kumble received the backing of the BCCI's cricket advisory committee, which included Sachin Tendulkar, Saurav Ganguly and VVS Laxman.
However, the decision didn't go down too well with Shastri as the former Team India director criticised Ganguly for being disrespectful to him by absenting himself during his interview. Kumble also stated that he would try his best to meet the expectations and vowed to take his side reach greater heights.
"It is one of the greatest honour to be back in the Indian dressing room. I know the responsibility and the expectations. I have also understood the expectation which is there on the Indian coach and I will try hard to live up to that," he said.
Insisting that he was looking forward to working with limited-overs skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni and Test captain Virat Kohli, the 45-year-old said that he would be more involved in background works by sharing information related to strategy and preparation.
"The experiences I have as a captain or as a player will be shared to the Indian team. It is the captain who will take the decision on the field and I will only assist him in giving all the necessary information in terms of strategy or preparation," the former leg-spinner added.
Kumble's first assignment will commence in the Caribbean, where India will play a four-match Test series against the West Indies from July 21.
Expressing his confidence over his side for the upcoming series, Kumble said that he would prepare his side well enough to tackle forthcoming challenges, insisting that maintaining the fighting spirit will be the key factor.
"We won the series in our last tour to the West Indies. We will take the confidence from that victory. The current Indian team has been performing really well in the Test cricket. I think we have a great chance to win the upcoming series," Kumble insisted.
"I want to prepare the Indian team keeping in mind the challenges we could face in the field. I believe that the current team is really talented and I will share my experience to them. But I will keep in mind that whether we will win or lose, fighting spirit will always be there," he added.
In a glorious international career spanning over 18 years, Kumble played 132 Tests taking 619 wickets at an average of 29.65. He is known for his best figures of 10 for 74 against Pakistan in Delhi in 1999.
Besides being India's highest wicket-taker in Tests and third overall, Kumble had also taken 337 wickets in his 271 one-day internationals. Kumble also led India in 14 Test matches after being appointed as captain in November 2007.