Anil Kumble felt that the current Indian team was the fittest when compared with the teams of the 1990s and 2000s. Responding to Dilip Vengsarkar’s observation that excessive gym work, modern training methods could be the reason for the players getting injured, Kumble said: "I don’t know. I am not really sure. All I can say is that the fitness parameters of the current Indian team is the best that it has ever been. I have played in the 90s where fitness and strength conditioning was a personal choice and not a team choice. In the 2000s, the culture changed and you could see the difference in the team. And now it is part and parcel of modern cricket."
"I am sure it’s a personal opinion, but as a coach, the current Indian coaching staff, the strength and conditioning coach and the physio are happy to sit and clarify because Dilip is someone whom we really respect and he also holds a very responsible position as the director of the National Cricket Academy.
"Since we are in Mumbai, we definitely won’t mind to sit and have a chat with him because in today’s modern day cricket, injuries are part and parcel of the game. The injuries that we had are hamstring injuries, which are very common not just in cricket but in any sport and it has all been cricketing injuries.’’
Kumble also spoke about the nature of injuries and other issues: Excerpts:
Unfortunately, Hardik (Pandya) got injured in the nets when he got hit by a ball, Rahul got hit fielding at short leg, Vijay got hit when he was batting and so did Shikhar. It is something that we have got to live with, but the good part is that the Indian team has really stood up and the people who have come in have contributed to the success of the team.
On Parthiv Patel:
Parthiv came back after eight years and he didn’t really show the nerves that you would expect, although he is a very seasoned campaigner. He came in, he was asked to open, and he did that brilliantly and kept wickets really well. Even when he first came in as a 16-year-old or 17-year-old — he still looks 16 without the beard — he showed a lot of maturity. The first time he walked out in India colours, he saved the Test match for India.
It certainly shows that if you are really putting in the hard yards in domestic cricket, never losing your faith and believing that you can come back into the Indian team, then it is possible. I was really pleased that he could walk into the match and not just keep wickets and bat at 6 or 7, but when he was asked to open, he put his hands up and did that really well. That goes to show the character of the player and that the team comes above self. He was not worried about failing. When you are coming into the team, making a comeback after eight years, you always want to do well for yourself, but here was Parthiv who was willing to put his hand up and say ‘I don’t mind opening’.
It has been an experiment and it’s really good. Overall the players are very satisfied with the outcome. I don’t think it is a matter of score-keeping or saying which team has got it better. I think what is important is whether we took the right call. I think we have done that in the last three Test matches and it has certainly added to the balance that you expect in international cricket.
Lack of attacking cricket from England batsmen:
I think it’s a tribute to our bowling attack and the field placing that Virat has set as the captain. If you look at the last three Test matches, all five bowlers have had a significant role, whether it was giving the one breakthrough or picking up a fifer, Ashwin did that. We have seen only one fifer in this series and it goes to show that all the bowlers have contributed really well.
India’s pace bowling:
The two fast bowlers have been brilliant. It is not just the two of them but Bhuvi, Ishant, all of them have contributed significantly and to have someone like Bhuvi and Ishant sitting out is a credit to the way Umesh and Shami have bowled. And yes, workload is something that we monitor, especially Shami, because he came back 18 months after being away from the game. It’s not easy for any cricketer. It is quite a challenge where you only have three-four day gap between Test matches. This series has gone till the last day of the matches and so it is important that these guys are given enough breaks. But credit to the way Shami and Umesh have bowled, not just with the new ball but also bowl in the last hour of the day and really rattling the batsmen and picking up the wickets.