Humble Kumble keeps it low-key


New India coach, Anil Kumble, wants to remain out of the limelight as much as possible in the same vain as predecessor's, John Wright, and Gary Kirsten.

Kumble has spoken about his admiration for two men who have held the position he has just accepted, and has assured fans that his role will be a supporting one.

The former spin king told "I played a lot under John Wright, he's been a great influence on how I'll go about [the role], in terms of being in the background,

"When I became a mentor for Mumbai Indians, I brought John in because he understood a lot about Indian culture and then the way coaches work. So I'll pick his brain.

"I was involved with Gary Kirsten only for the Test matches, a very short period. He was, again, someone who worked in the background and didn't make himself visible. Exactly how I'd like to work as well. Not in the front, but behind the scenes."

The India legend was giving little away about his approach but suggested he would combine modern analysis with a traditional approach, saying: "Data is important when you have to devise strategies and man-management is extremely crucial,

"You need the team environment to be consistent and healthy, but also competitive. That is something I would look to have in the team.

"The team comes first, the coaches play the background role, you are just trying to prepare the team for the best of their ability, for all conditions and all eventualities. You can't really plan for adversity, but to try to prepare the team to handle those adversities. That's exactly what we'll try and address."

Kumble is aware that India needs leaders other than captains, Virat Kohli and MS Dhoni, and will look to develop leadership throughout the team: "[It is] important as a coach to take the burden off the captain,

"Captain has a lot of things on his head, all cricketing decisions and non-cricketing as well. When I was captain I realised that it's not just taking decisions on the field but off it as well. Those are quite stressful.

"Having been with the Indian team for such a long time and having had various experiences of not just conditions, but outside the cricket field, when you're a coach, you're not just coach on the field but also off it. You're trying to build personalities, trying to build leaders.

"That's how I'd like to look at this team. There is some wonderful talent, you need to make leaders out of them, try and understand what ticks them. It's not a quick fix, you have to understand and then take a call."

The new head coach doesn't believe any major overhaul in the style of play is necessary, saying: "They are already playing a good brand of cricket,

"I will bring my characteristics as well but won't impose on them. My job is to convince players to buy into what I believe in and what they believe in.

"At the end of it, they need to own it. If the team doesn't own what we agree on, then it's not going to work. I'm only an enabler. I work as an enabler to make sure things happen.

"You need to be tough to play international cricket. It's not only highs that you will see, you will also see lows. The coach's role is not only to be a coach during successful periods but to be a coach during tough times."

The former skipper will immediately begin preparations for the tour to the West Indies: "We have the West Indies Test series coming up, so that's something our focus will be on,

"I've spoken to Virat [Kohli] and MS [Dhoni, India's ODI and T20 captain] must be on the flight back from Zimbabwe. It's nice to have a camp here in Bengaluru before we tour. We'll sit down and iron out and get ready for the West Indies tour.

"Bowling, getting 20 wickets in Test cricket will win you matches. That's the focus and we'll take it from there. Batting, we have some great talent there.

"I believe this team has the potential. It's a young team and driven by young leaders. Looking forward to working with Virat and MS. Long-term, we have lots of Tests coming up in India, that'll be our focus."

Despite most of India's Test cricket over the next year being at home Kumble has targeted an improvement in India's away record: "This [overseas record] is something I wanted to commit to.

"You'll have lot of time to strategise. The team needs to be really fit to meet the demands of Test cricket. Lot of Tests coming up, the first four are in West Indies where the conditions are not that different to India.

"But the Indian conditions are where we are comfortable with. Focus will be on our overseas record and the mindset we have to address from home itself. We'll sit down and make a plan to ensure that we train towards achieving those goals."