There came a point in Anil Kumble's press conference here on Thursday when he would not hear any more talk about the pitch. “Can we move on?” he snapped. “It's only 22 yards; it won't be different here.” After multiple questions on the playing surface, India's head coach did not take kindly to an observation on the team's performances on turners. “These kinds of questions were never asked during the last nine Test matches. So I don't see a reason for me to answer the question at this point in time because of one failure. We didn't adapt well and we lost. It's a team failure and you can't point fingers at anyone.”
Anil Kumble press conference
Earlier, though, Kumble had spoken pleasantly of the M. Chinnaswamy Stadium producing a 'result wicket'. “I have grown up playing on this ground. It's generally been a good batting surface and I'm sure it'll be a result wicket. That's exactly what we want in a Test match,” he said.
As a player, Kumble noted, he had never lost sleep over the nature of the pitch. “There's nothing like that (a pitch he didn't want). Yes, you look at the pitch and then come up with a strategy. That's about it. There was a lot of talk during my playing career: 'He can bowl only on one particular pitch'. That didn't really bother me. Nor does it bother me now.”
Kumble did not wish to dwell on the loss in Pune. India had failed to adapt, and the team had moved on, he said. “You can't keep winning every game. It has to come to an end at some point. But 20 games (19-game-unbeaten run) in the current scenario of Test cricket is quite challenging. That's what this team has been able to do across conditions: Sri Lanka, India, West Indies.”
"I don't want to look back. We are here to look ahead. As a coach it is more important for me to look ahead. Yes it was one of those games where things didn't go our way. We just need to move on. There are another three Test matches in the series and looking forward to that," he said.
India had not faltered in its use of the DRS, Kumble insisted. “We keep talking about it...and I don't think we messed it up,” he said. “If you looked at the two series since it was introduced, we did better than the opposition, both against England and Bangladesh. It's too early to talk about that. You can always feel in hindsight that you [erred] but those calls were really close. So I don't see a reason why we need to worry too much.”
After the first Test finished inside three days, India's players took time off to trek in the Western Ghats. The break had been necessary, Kumble felt. “When matches don't go your way, it's all the more important that your minds are fresh,” he said. “We went far away from the cricketing environment for a day. It's important because we've been playing matches day in and day out for 10 months. Sometimes results go your way, sometimes they don't. It's important to keep the team-bonding going, and to keep their spirits high. It's not like if we don't practise for one day, the ability of a player decreases. Or if you practice for one extra day, the ability increases. There's nothing like that. As a coach it is tough to peek into someone's head and see what he is thinking. We just ensure that players remain fresh so that they do what their mind wishes, in the middle.”
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