He feels privileged to be India’s national cricket coach but the legendary Anil Kumble on Tuesday said it has been more satisfying to see Virat Kohli and Co. become self-sufficient in dealing with challenges both on and off the field.
“I have been privileged to have a chance to work this young lot for the last ten months. It’s nice to see this squad grow and understand situations and come up with solutions. You want team to be self-sufficient and not look over their shoulders for advice,” Kumble said in a press conference ahead of the Test series against Australia, starting on Thursday.
“I have tried to create an environment where the players can look for solutions on the field and off it as well,” added the former captain.
He also praised some individual displays, like off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin becoming the fastest to 250 Test wickets.
“Some of them have played 40-45 Tests. Virat has played over 50. Achievements as an individual, people have had. They have all achieved quite a bit and someone like Ashwin is the fastest to reach 250 wickets in Test history, that’s something which is amazing,” Kumble said.
“Those kinds of performers are really good to have in the squad and I am really happy I have had the opportunity to work with all of them,” he added.
The team is carrying 16 players even for the home series and Kumble said it has been done to cover for eventualities like injuries.
“We want to put together a squad which we want to keep going forward. They all want to be a part of the team and for us to build a champion side - this is the 14th Test out of 17 this season. It’s keeping the team together that has got these results,” he said.
“We want options for any eventuality. We had injuries in the past just before the game or on day of match. We want to keep team together and build on who will be a part of the Test arena, barring one or two, for a long time,” he added.
The squad has also carried a few domestic pace bowlers and the coach said this was done looking ahead to the future requirements.
“We have Aniket Choudhary, Basil Thampi, Nathu Singh who are part of our schemes. Before the New Zealand we had Jayant Yadav as part of this kind of a crew who helped us prepare for the Tests. I haven’t had a chance to work with them. I hardly get time to look at other domestic bowlers so I try and engage them ahead of a Test match.
“It’s not necessary that they will be a part of the squad in near future, but looking at the series coming up or even far ahead it’s good to have them in the scheme of things and bring them into the work culture that we all expect and is needed for success at the international level.”