Headingley was a defining moment: Kumble

India head coach Anil Kumble said the team led by Sourav Ganguly changed the mindset of the players and injected self-belief in them.

Anil Kumble and Saurav Ganguly in discussion ahead of the second test in Kolkata.   -  PTI

India head coach Anil Kumble said the team led by Sourav Ganguly changed the mindset of the players and injected self-belief in them.

Speaking at a talk show to mark India's 500 Test (at the Green Park) followed by the country's 250th home Test at the Eden Gardens here, Kumble said the Indian team grew in confidence after recording some fine victories.

“Our generation became resilient after going through different challenges. The Kolkata Test (2001) changed our mindset, and the Headingley Test (2002) was probably when we thought we could win abroad. The Perth Test (2008) victory was remarkable and then never we looked back,” said Kumble on Friday.

“It is difficult to pick the best moment. But yes, the Headingley Test was a defining moment for me and the Indian cricket. It continued from that.”

Ganguly said he was fortunate to lead some fabulous players. “These were great people whose hearts were in the right place. They changed the face of Indian cricket. Viru (Virender Sehwag) was at top with his batting and when you came to bowl you knew you've one (Kumble) who can bowl and give you wicket on any surface. He said, 'You give me runs on the scoreboard and I will win you Tests.' He did exactly that.

“It was my honour to lead both of them and also Rahul (Dravid), Sachin (Tendulkar), Harbhajan (Singh)... It was a golden generation, we were blessed with exceptional talents. They have made Indian cricket superior.

Showering praise on Sehwag, Ganguly said, “He changed the batting mindset of people around the world. If you see today's era, if the cricketers don't get runs quickly there is criticism. It all started with guys like Sehwag, (Matthew) Hayden and maybe (Justin) Langer to an extent. Gilchrist may be in one-day cricket.”

On the famous Indian win over Australia, Ganguly said, “I did not have Kumble and to beat that Australian side from that position, Harbhajan stood up in the series.”

Referring to batting maestro Sachin Tendulkar, Ganguly said, “He loved to only bat and shop. He would get a Test hundred and next day you would see him in an Armani or Versace store and putting it up in the wardrobe. He was very fond of his clothes and had a great wardrobe.”

Sehwag acknowledged Ganguly's leadership ability. “Dada had only one motive – to win overseas and become number one. His captaincy was attacking and he backed his boys. I remember having dinner with Ganguly and he told me, 'You would play the next four matches, performance would not matter, just go and give your 100 per cent.' We were content. I made my second triple hundred under Kumble. The seed was sown by Dada and Kumble continued.”

Sehwag said mindset was a crucial part of playing cricket. “Mindset is important. Cricket has not changed but it's the mindset that has. I never had fear of losing my place as my captain would tell me just go out there and play freely. Captain played a big role be it Sourav, Kumble or M.S. Dhoni. Every successful player has an equally great captain behind him.”

Former India captain Kapil Dev said he “never thought we could reach the pinnacle of Test cricket so quickly. After 200 (Tests) we never looked back.”

Kapil said the mindset of the players was different in the past. “In the 1970s and 1980s we did not have the right mindset. things started moving and cricket kept on changing from Sunil Gavaskar era. The Board also did not have the resources, it was a tough time,” he said.