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Consistency is what I think will be the challenge: Anil Kumble

Anil Kumble
Former India cricketer Anil Kumble. (Photo by MAL FAIRCLOUGH/AFP/Getty Images)

India’s new head coach Anil Kumble today interacted live with fans on twitter on Sunday. The newly appointed coach answered a variety of questions ranging from his future plans for the Indian cricket team to the origin of his nickname ‘Jumbo.’

Kumble was made the head coach of India on June 23, expressed his desire to make the India team consistently win Tests abroad. Incidentally, Kumble’s first assignment as coach will be the 4-match test series this month against West Indies. The team is set to fly to the Caribbean on July 6.

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Here are some of the questions and answers from Kumble via BCCI’s Live Twitter interaction on Tuesday (July 5).

Kumble began with explaining his thoughts bout improving India’s overseas record. As Kumble says in his reply, it is a question which is indeed in every Indian’s minds. He feels that the mindset of the team has to change and otherwise he has a great team with him.

“”It is the question which is, I guess, on every Indian’s mind. It has been only few days with the team (since taking over). We will certainly look to get the right results in the West Indies. We have a whole lot of home series (13 Tests) coming up.”

“The mindset needs to change and this team certainly has the mindset to do that. To really win consistently across all formats especially in Tests, not just in India, but also overseas. Really looking forward to working with this team.”

Kumble also spoke about his reaction after returning to the Indian dressing room with the Indian cap on his head. It’s been 8 years since he retired from international cricket.

“It was indeed a great honour for me to walk into the dressing room and in India colours. It is very special. It has been 8 years since I wore the India cap on the field and (was) among all the players. It is a wonderful feeling. I certainly feel privileged and it is a great opportunity to contribute back to the game. Hopefully, I have a great run with the Indian team. I am really looking forward to work with Virat (Kohli) and the rest of the boys.”

The former leg-spinner also spoke about the challenges he will face in the future as the coach of Team India

“The challenge I believe is the consistency. It is not easy. We are playing 17 Test matches over the next 1 year. That is a lot of cricket. So it is important to keep the players fit and raring to go in every opportunity they have. That will be the challenge, to keep them really fit and energetic, because 17 Test matches are a lot. Consistency is what I think will be the challenge.”

Jumping over from the coaching related questions, Kumble also gave his opinion about the Day/Night test.

“Anything we do to get the crowds back to Test matches is a great idea. I backed day-night Test cricket. That is something which is the future. At least on and off you will look to play day-night Tests that is where people can come after office hours, at least watch a couple of sessions.”

Kumble will have his former Royal Challengers Bangalore protege’ Virat Kohli as the man in command of the team. The Test skipper is well-known for his aggression both on and off the field. Kohli has an undying love for his game and hates to lose. He has always been very expressive. The duo are all set for their first campaign together as team India flies to the Caribbean for a 4-Test series. But, Kumble doesn’t seem to have any problem with Kohli’s aggression.

“Yes. I am really excited to work with Virat (Kohli). I have seen him from Under-19 cricketer (days) at RCB (Royal Challengers Bangalore). He has matured a lot. Over the last couple of year he has shown what a fantastic batsman he is and what a fantastic leader he is, in the little what I have seen him as a Test captain. I am looking forward to that because he is really aggressive and so was I. I was also aggressive on the field. Really looking forward to working with him.”

He also revealed how he never took any wrong advantage of being a sports student during his time at the RVCE Engineering College

Kumble: “I was a bad example of a sports student. I never bunked classes when there were no cricket matches. So I was not the greatest guy among my sports friends as they hated me. I used to go to class when there was no cricket. I hardly had time to go to college as there was so much cricket.

Kumble is also planning to bowl in the West Indies!

“I found every Indian batsman (when I was playing) tough (to bowl to) at the nets. I have just got my arm rolling over in these nets (at preparatory camp in Bengaluru). My shoulder is sore. I really don’t know I can be a tough challenge for any of our current batters now. I am trying really hard to bowl. Hopefully, I will be able to bowl in the West Indies as well.”

Kumble’s love for photography is very well-known. When asked whether the coach with a DSLR camera from the dressing room during match days, he gave an expected reply.

Kumble: “Yes I am sure you would have seen with a camera around during my playing days. I will surely be carrying a camera to the West Indies. I have my camera packed. I will be carrying my camera to click some images of the team, on the beach, at the games as well. Hopefully winning shots will be great.”

Kumble, who is fondly known as “Jumbo” also revealed the origin of his famous nickname.

“My nickname was coined by none other than Navjot Singh Sidhu. This was in an Irani Trophy game when I was playing for Rest of India at the (Feroze Shah) Kotla. He was standing at his customary mid-on position and one of the balls (from me) really took off. He said ‘Jumbo Jet’. The ‘Jet’ got dropped off and and Jumbo remained. Ever since all my team-mates call me Jumbo.”

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