Tamil Diplomat

Virat Kohli & Anil Kumble – Visitors banking on rare combination to end overseas woes

Considering the amount of limited-overs cricket India have played since the beginning of this year, it seems we haven’t seen them in whites since ages. For the record, India last played a Test against South Africa at home in December, in a four-match series, which they comprehensively won 3-0.

Ever since he took over the Test captaincy from Mahendra Singh Dhoni, Virat Kohli has been a revelation in the traditional format. Not that he hasn’t been any good in limited-overs, but Kohli has led from the front in Tests, as a result of which India produced historic series wins against Sri Lanka and South Africa last year.

While the success in Sri Lanka and at home against the Proteas came under Ravi Shastri, the fans might get to see a new approach by Indian cricketers in the Caribbean, now that the team will be playing under new coach Anil Kumble.

The veteran leggie has been in news ever since he threw his hat into the coaching race. A match-winner for India during his playing days, Kumble was someone who believed in giving his 100% irrespective of the opponent and the pitches.

In a high-profile meeting, Kumble bowled over the holy trinity of Sachin Tendulkar, Sourav Ganguly and VVS Laxman with his detailed presentation. One of the key questions asked during the interview was the way forward to improve India’s overseas record. Since he spoke for two hours, Kumble certainly had a brilliant plan, which is why he was considered for the post ahead of Ravi Shastri and Tom Moody.

Not to forget, Shastri shared an excellent camaraderie with the Indian cricketers. Even Kohli often praised the Mumbaikar’s aggressive approach during press conferences. During his 18 months as the director of the Indian team, Shastri had got really close to other players as well, who were fond of the way he motivated them under difficult circumstances.

Most of the senior cricketers were rested for India’s tour to Zimbabwe. As they begin another overseas tour, the challenge for them would be to regroup and come to terms with Kumble and his style of coaching.

Known for his meticulous approach, Kumble made sure to make his intentions clear ahead of the Windies tour by reintroducing the ‘buddy programme’ as well as by involving Indian cricketers, along with MS Dhoni, in a first of its kind drum session.

Kohli too, would be looking forward to start a new chapter with Kumble. While Shastri would have been his first choice as India coach, there’s a lot his team can learn from Kumble. They both share the same hunger for success and there is no reason why India cannot become the No. 1 Test side again with their joint efforts. The only difference being, while Kohli’s aggression is visible, Jumbo preferred to speak through his actions.

The cricket fraternity has fallen short of adjectives to describe Kohli’s form this year. While he has been incredible since the beginning of 2016, the Delhi batsman would be determined to continue India’s winning runs in Tests under his captaincy.

India will play around 16 Tests over the next 12 months. Along with Kumble, Kohli’s only goal would be not only to take India to the pinnacle of Test cricket again, but to stay there for as long as possible.