Former cricketer Kumble named head coach of India’s national team

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After naming former India skipper Anil Kumble as the new head coach for the next one year, Board of Control for Cricket in India President Anurag Thakur said June 23 that the board has complete faith in the legendary leg-spinner.  “After discussions we have taken a final call that for one year Anil Kumble will be the head coach,” Thakur told a packed press conference on the sidelines of the board’s first ever annual cricket conclave here.  “Indian cricket team deserves the best coach, and BCCI has complete faith in Kumble. It is not about an Indian or a foreign coach, it is about best coach for India,” he added.  Thakur also said that the support staff will be announced at a later date after further deliberations.  “Bowling and batting coaches will be decided later,” the BJP MP from Hamirpur said.  “I am ready to take the new role, as I have always put my hands up for any sort of challenge,” Kumble, India’s highest wicket-taker told reporters after the BCCI announcement.  Admitting that coaching the Indian team was a huge responsibility, he said he would be in the background, as players came first for him.  “It’s the players who come first and the coach’s role is always in the background,” a beaming Kumble said at his residence, with his family members in tow.  Terming the new job as a great honor to be in the dressing room again but in a different avatar, the right-arm leg spinner said he was humbled by the decision and thanked the advisory committee for selecting him for the top coaching post.  The board’s advisory committee’s three members are batting maestro Sachin Tendulkar, former captain Sourav Ganguly and veteran batsman V.V.S. Laxman.  “This is a great time for Indian cricket. I have played for long with Sachin, Sourav, V.V.S. and Rahul (Dravid), who is guiding the junior team. The five of us share a wonderful relation on and off the field,” Kumble said.  Kumble, the world’s third highest wicket-taker with 619 Test scalps, will succeed Zimbabwean Duncan Fletcher, whose term ended in March 2015 after the 50-over World Cup in Australia and New Zealand.  Following Fletcher’s tenure, the BCCI appointed former India captain Ravi Shastri as team director until the ICC World T20 in April this year after which the board advertised for the head coach on its website.  The BCCI received 57 applications for the post and trimmed it down to 21 before handing over the list to the Cricket Advisory Committee comprising Sachin Tendulkar, Sourav Ganguly and V.V.S. Laxman, who interviewed the shortlisted candidates.   Current Indian selection committee chairman Sandip Patil, Kumble, Shastri, Lalchand Rajput, Pravin Amre, Tom Moody, Stuart Law and Andy Moles were among the prominent names doing the rounds for the top job.  Kumble’s first assignment with the team will be the four-match Test tour to the West Indies next month.

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