Kumble: 'Batting struggles due to changing formats'

Anil Kumble defended the modern batsman used to being fed on limited-overs matches struggling against quality Test match bowling, as changing formats was quite challenging.

Anil Kumble..."The talk should be about the cricket played on the pitch rather than the pitch itself."   -  K. Bhagya Prakash

From player to coach, Anil Kumble has had a distinguished career. In charge of the team now, the genial leg-spinner, with an enviable quality to break a stubborn partnership or remove a well-set batsman, brings in enormous experience and tactical excellence to the Indian dressing room.

The spinners acquire lot of wisdom from him. But the seamers too gain a lot as Kumble spends good time with them. For Bhuvneshwar Kumar, the interactions with the team coach have been fruitful and helped him grow as an individual.

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Kumble defends the modern batsmen who have not been good players of spin. “It is quite challenging for the modern-day cricketer to keep changing formats. Invariably when you are playing shorter formats, it is always in favour of the batsman. There is hardly anything for the bowler. When they come to play in a Test match irrespective of the conditions, we have seen modern cricketers have been good players of fast bowling when it comes to seam but later have struggled on seaming tracks because of what the modern batsman encounters,” he told reporters here on Tuesday.

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He added it was the same for all teams. “But one good thing we have had is that we are coming off a Test series and getting into one and we have a long Test series at home. We have spent a lot of time focussing on preparing to play spinners and how to respond to playing spinners. It will only improve and you will notice that as the home series goes by.”

'No demands for the pitch'

When asked about playing on rank turners, Kumble insisted his team was ready to play on any kind of pitch. “We are not making any demands for the pitch. We will play on the pitch that is on offer and we will enter the field thinking that our spinners are better when it comes to experience and quality,” he said.

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Kumble also pointed out that discussions in the team always centred around cricket and not just pitches. “I feel it will be a typical Kanpur pitch. There has been rain and we have played very less in this part of the country in the month of September. The pitch looks good and I feel the talk should be about the cricket played on the pitch rather than the pitch itself. The discussion with the players too has been about the same and we adapt according to the pitch that is on offer. The interaction of the captain with the rest of the players is one of the best qualities of Virat Kohli.”

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Kumble appreciated the presence of young spinners in the New Zealand team. “New Zealand has done well at home and overseas as well. They have three spinners in the side. I have watched Mitchell Santner and Ish Sodhi in the T20 World Cup who played a significant role in the progress for New Zealand. It is heartening to see spinners playing a major role in Indian teams and foreign teams as well. We know that New Zealand is a very potent all-round team. They have three different variations in the spin department which is something you don’t see in a foreign team.”

He was looking forward to the 500th Test. “I have been seeing this stadium for the past 28 years. We only hope we win this Test match. It feels good that India has a legacy of 499 Test matches. It is a great milestone to have been a part of the Indian team in the 90s and 2000s. It is extremely special and it was an honour. To have a legacy of 500 Test matches starting from 1932 till today, there have been some great players.”

Kumble concluded with a healthy assessment of his team. “I certainly believe every Indian team that has gone on to the park in these 499 Test matches has certainly looked to raise the bar. This team is no different and that is exactly what we will look to do as well - to raise the bar in every Test match that we walk out and play. This team certainly has the potential to make Indian cricket something special for the next 5-10 years. To be a part of 132 Test matches as a player, and now be involved in the 500th Test match as coach, is something really special.”