Kumble Lauds Kohli, Dhoni

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Mumbai: Indian cricket team coach Anil Kumble on Thursday heaped praised on Virat Kohli saying the transformation of the current India skipper from a 19-year-old to the present time has been brilliant.

“Virat Kohli, brilliance. I think one word is very difficult (to describe him). I have seen him develop from a 19-year-old, who walked into Royal Challengers (Bangalore) first time after he won the (U-19) World Cup as a captain, to the transformation that you see now, it’s been brilliant. To see someone that passionate, that kind of motivation and dedication he has,” Kumble said, addressing the annual NILF at suburban Vakola.

The legendary leg-spinner, who has grabbed over 600 Test wickets, also lauded Mahendra Singh Dhoni for his leadership qualities, saying he has won two World Cups and Champions Trophy.

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“And similarly with M S (Dhoni), coming from Ranchi, nobody expected that someone from Ranchi would be leading the country. And the way he has led the (team), 10 years as a captain, it’s extremely difficult. But to be Indian captain for 10 years is something unheard of and hats off to the way he conducted himself as a captain of the team. He was perfect ambassador for the sport,” said Kumble.

“And I don’t think anything ruffled him. You could really figure out what he was thinking even when one ball six runs to go or if the opposition needed two runs to win and you still have an over to go. You did not know what he was thinking, he would always go with his gut. It was amazing to win two World Cups, Champions Trophy and No. 1 in Test, you can’t ask for more,” the former Karnataka player added.

Kumble also said the most difficult job as a coach was to tell a player that ‘you are not playing or you are not in the squad’.

“But you have to take those hard decisions,” he quipped. During the interaction, the former leggie also narrated anecdotes about his famous 10-wicket haul against Pakistan and the prize wicket of Brian Lara during the Antigua Test against the West Indies, when he bowled with a broken jaw.