Dharamsala: The long drawn-out process to select the new India coach came to an end on Thursday with the BCCI announcing former India captain and leg-spin legend Anil Kumble as the man selected for the top post for a duration of one year.
Kumble left the high-profile Ravi Shastri behind in the race that had boiled down to a two-man competition after 57 applications were received by the BCCI in response to the advertisement the board put out on June 1.
The BCCI had trimmed the list of 57 applicants to 21, after which the CAC held interviews earlier in the week before it zeroed in on Kumble and relayed his name to BCCI secretary, Ajay Shirke.
Among the other men who were invited for an interview were Lalchand Rajput, Pravin Amre, Tom Moody, Stuart Law and Andy Moles. Chief Selector Sandeep Patil, who had also applied for the post, was not interviewed.
India have been without a coach since the end of ICC World Twenty20, when the contract of Team Director cum coach Shastri ended. Subsequently, Sanjay Bangar was appointed as the stand-in coach for the tour of Zimbabwe.
Interestingly the entire ‘Fab Five’ of India’s golden era – Tendulkar, Ganguly, Laxman, Kumble and Rahul Dravid – are now holding the top positions in the backroom guiding Indian cricket.
While the first three are part of the CAC, Kumble will now be the coach with Rahul Dravid leading the supply chain as coach of the under-19 and India A teams.
Kumble, like Shastri, doesn’t have any noteworthy coaching experience, but the wealth of his record and contribution to Indian cricket seemed to have tipped the scales in his favour.
In 132 Tests, India’s highest wicket-taker in the format has 619 sticks with a memorable best of 10 for 74 in the Delhi Test against Pakistan, which made him the only bowler after Jim Laker to claim all 10 in an innings. Besides, he claimed 35 five-wicket hauls and scored a hundred and five fifties in his Test career.
In the list of highest Test wicket-takers, Kumble stands third behind Sri Lankan offspinner Muttiah Muralitharan (800) and Australia’s leg-spin legend Shane Warne (708).
In 271 ODIs, Kumble took 337 wickets, with his famous 6 for 12 in the Hero Cup final against the West Indies etched in the memories of cricket fans.
Overall in first class cricket, Kumble has 1136 wickets to his name. Kumble was also awarded the Arjuna Award in 1995, which was followed by him being named the Wisden Cricketer of the Year in the following year. He was also appointed the chairman of ICC Cricket Committee in 2012, a position he still holds.