Became captain by default: Anil

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By (PTI)
  • Published 15.10.14

Panaji: Anil Kumble, one of the most respected cricketers to have led the Indian team, has said that he became the Test captain only because no one else was interested in doing the job.

“I became captain after representing India for 17 years, so, probably, I became captain by default… Because nobody else wanted it,” Kumble said.

“Rahul Dravid had just given up the captaincy and at that time, it was probably too early for (Mahendra Singh) Dhoni to step in as the Test captain… Sachin (Tendulkar) also did not want it… So they looked around and said ‘ok, Anil is the only guy and let’s give it to him’,” Kumble added, while speaking at a promotional.

Kumble, who ended his career with 619 wickets in 132 Tests and 337 wickets in 271 ODIs during his illustrious 18-year career, said it was a transition period for Indian cricket when he was at the helm of affairs. “I knew that I was in the 17th year of my career… I knew had to handle a team of former captains,” he said.

Kumble, 41, said his style of leading was always inclusive as he involved the youngsters in decision-making.

Asked how he managed to get the best out of the players during his captaincy, he said that he enjoyed a comfort level with his colleagues.

In the 14 Test matches that Kumble captained, India won three, lost five and drew six. He had led India to a memorable 1-0 home series win over arch-rivals Pakistan, immediately after being appointed as captain.

Kumble believes that it is tough being a bowler in India. “You always need 20 wickets to win a Test match… In India, you pick teams based on pitches… So it’s the bowlers who get replaced… If it is a turning pitch, a fast bowler can’t play, and if it is a green pitch, a spinner can’t play. As a bowler, you are not a hero. ”

Replying to a question about what was the biggest setback he faced in his career, Kumble said he was always criticised for not being a classical spinner.”