Glad to see BCCI, CA move on and focus back on cricket — Kumble

Anil Kumble

India’s head coach Anil Kumble said the joint decision of both the BCCI and CA to move on from the review-gate controversy that flared up in the aftermath of the Bengaluru Test is a ‘mature’ move and that focus is back on cricket before the third Test match in Ranchi, which begins Thursday (March 15).

“I think what was important was to bring the focus back on cricket and I am really glad that the BCCI took a mature call along with Cricket Australia to issue a joint statement that cricket needs to move on and we have moved on from whatever happened in that background,” Kumble said on Tuesday, two days before the third Test in Ranchi.

“That’s really important because focus obviously has to be on the game, and I thought we made a fantastic comeback after losing the first Test, especially day two and day three (of the second Test); they (Australia) were ahead and to come back from there and win a Test match was rewarding.”

Kumble also lauded his players for the way they have responded to the challenge of playing so many games in a relatively short span of time; Ranchi Test will India’s 12th match of the home season, which began soon after the tour of West Indies last year.

“I think they have responded really well,” he said. “It’s been a long season, not easy playing 17 Test matches on the trot. Back to back, especially for the bowling unit. And of course the batsmen, it takes its own toll.

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“Touch wood we have had very little injuries – of course (Mohammed) Shami is injured as a bowler and he is coming back. So we had some injuries but they have responded well to the challenges that have come about. Lots of overs under the belt and that’s something that obviously augurs well. If you are winning constantly and keep performing the way we have been performing at home that helps. That’s been the hallmark.

“You can’t point to just one individual in the whole season that has given us these results. I think every individual has stood up and the captain had led from the front. So it’s really nice and augurs well that each individual has contributed to the success.

“We would like to finish the last two Test matches in a very good way, and I am sure it will be something that we will be cherishing at the end of the season.”

When asked about the availability of Murli Vijay, who missed the second Test with a shoulder injury, Kumble said he was ‘fine’.

“Yeah, he’s fine,” Kumble said. “He is a part of the squad, so he is good.”

India’s coach also praised his bowlers for the grit and determination they have shown in Bengaluru Test, where India managed to secure a dramatic, series-leveling victory over the visitors.

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“I thought day two was a fantastic day of Test cricket. It was attritional. Only 190 [197] runs were scored in the entire day and we picked up six wickets. But the intensity all the four bowlers bowled with, especially the fast bowlers … It was brilliant. And I think that resulted in the win.

“It showed the character and that’s what you want to see in a team… You want to see a lot of character and lot of pride in the way we go about doing things and coming back and winning a Test match.”

“We have seen certainly seen what Umesh is capable of.” Kumble said. “Although he doesn’t have the kind of wickets that you would expect, the way he has bowled and the way he has given us those breakthroughs – he may not have a five-wicket haul but every time he has bowled, he has looked like he would pick up a five-for. And that’s the kind of maturity and improvement Umesh has shown.

“Yes, the chunk of the wickets have been to the spinners, and I am glad that Ashwin will always be spoken about, but I am really glad that Jadeja has come up and done what he is capable of. Really glad that both of them are currently on top of the ICC rankings.”

When asked if the pitch which is being prepared for Ranchi Test will give an equal balance and contest, Kumble said he can’t predict.

“I don’t know. We only hope we will win,” he said. “How many days the Test will last I wouldn’t know. But I only hope there will be a result and it will be in our favour.”

Kumble brushed aside reports in the Indian media that suggested the BCCI was looking to appoint him director of cricket and hand over the head coach role to Rahul Dravid.

“I have also heard from the media, it is news to me, from the media,” he said. “There is nothing else, no one has spoken about it.”

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