The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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‘Ian knows nothing about our cricket’
- I don’t think sacking Rahul is the right way to move ahead: Kumble

New Delhi: Ian Chappell’s retirement advisory to Sachin Tendulkar has drawn sharp criticism from veteran spinner and teammate Anil Kumble, who says the Australian has nothing to do with Indian cricket and his comments should be seen as a “personal opinion”.

“Ian Chappell has got nothing to do with Indian cricket. Of course everybody is entitled to his opinion but Ian is not going to win matches for India, Sachin has been doing that for us and we should be supporting him,” Kumble said during a television channel interview.

“He is a former cricketer and has the right to make statements about the game, but he doesn’t understand Indian cricket,” said Kumble.

The veteran leg-spinner, who announced his retirement from one-day Internationals last Saturday, felt the former Australian captain’s views didn’t deserve too much importance.

“I think we tend to give too much importance to players from outside (India). When we say that we don’t have a (Shane) Warne, (Muttiah) Muralidharan or (Wasim) Akram in the team, we forget that these guys are not the ones who will win us matches. We need to back our players,” he added.

Kumble also rubbished suggestions that Tendulkar’s age has made him more of a liability in terms of fitness.

“Age has no bearing on fitness. Being 30 or for that matter even 40, does not mean that one should stop playing. It is a decision that depends on the individual. Sachin still has a lot to offer to Indian cricket,” Kumble said.

“Obviously, losing is disappointing but it was a collective failure. Sachin or for that matter anyone else cannot be singled out for it,” he said.

Kumble appeared miffed with fans for their violent outburst against Team India after the World Cup debacle, saying that the country lacks a sporting culture which is necessary to understand the hard work put in by the players.

“We can understand their anger, but as players, we are more disappointed. This is the time when we need their support. The fact is, we don’t have a sporting culture. That’s why we don’t understand the sacrifices that a sportsperson makes,” said the leg-spinner.

Kumble felt calls for Rahul Dravid’s sacking as captain and the demand to throw out certain players were more emotional than rational.

“I don’t think it (sacking Dravid) would be the right way to go ahead. The captain and the coach must take a share of the responsibility for what happened, but it is a team game.”

“I think there would be someone who would definitely made to pay for this. But that should not happen,” he said.

Kumble said suggestions that cricketers have lost focus due to their commercial commitments, were absurd.

“The criticism is unfair. Just because we do endorsements does not mean that we are losing our focus. We fully realise that only playing well will get us all this,” he said.

On the future of Indian cricket in the aftermath of the failure, Kumble said domestic cricket will have to improve if India are to do well at the international stage.

“We need to reduce the number of teams in our domestic competitions. Look at the format in Australia. They have only seven or eight teams playing at the first class level and the competition is brutal,” he said.

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