Anil Kumble is right man to coach India: Sehwag

Former India opener, Virender Sehwag, who unveiled the logo, team anthem and jersey of the Madurai Super Giants ahead of the Tamil Nadu Premier League (TNPL), spoke about the opportunities available for youngsters in the league, coaching youngsters and more.
Excerpts from the interaction:
Q) You come from the outskirts of Delhi. What do you feel about players from districts in Tamil Nadu getting an opportunity in the TN Premier League?
I think it is a great opportunity for kids who are playing in district teams. People will watch them since it is going to be telecast live which makes it a big platform. A kid, who is playing for the district team, is talented and is picked by one of the teams (in TNPL) can show his skills. He can then play for Tamil Nadu Cricket Association as an U-19 player, U-23 player or in the Ranji Trophy. After that, an Indian Premier League team can pick him and then he might get a chance to play for India as well. It is a big platform and is an opportunity for young players to show their talent. I remember during my days, when businessmen provided these platforms and now the associations are providing platforms to organize leagues. It has happened in Rajasthan, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and will happen in North India also. These small leagues make way for big stars for tomorrow.
Q) Do you see a difference in youngsters’ approach nowadays, when compared to the time when you started playing?
Cricket is the same, but the thinking has changed. Nowadays in Tests, openers are playing over the covers or over the slip cordon or upper cuts and celebrating their centuries with sixes. It is a good thing that Test cricket has remained the same, but the approach of the batsmen has changed with the advent of Twenty20 cricket. Now, they take more risks in Tests.
Q) Recently, you tweeted about the poor turnout during the West Indies-India Test match. What do you think will attract more crowds to the longest format of the game?
I think crowd is less in India also, but since we have a better population when compared to the West Indies, we have few thousands watching Test cricket. Also, Tests are not famous in the West Indies as they were when big stars played for them during 1970s and 1980s. If big stars are involved in Test matches in the West Indies, I think more people will come and watch the game. But their big stars are not playing.
Q) Youngsters are more attracted to batting than bowling in T20 leagues. Do you think it will affect the game in the long run?
Not really, because we have seen bowlers who have made their careers through the IPL. R Ashwin, (Jasprit) Bumrah, Bhuvneshwar Kumar are a few names I can think of. So, the leagues give opportunity to everybody and not just the batsmen.
Maybe it gives such a feel because batsmen are seven and bowlers are four, but bowlers are also given an opportunity to showcase their talent. At the end of the day, performance matters and not if you are a batsman or a bowler. If you perform well, you’ll get through any team.
Q) Presently, the role of the batting coach for the Indian team is vacant (Sanjay Bangar’s position will be up for review at the end of the West Indies tour). Would you like to take that post?
No, I don’t have time. I don’t think the Indian team needs a batting coach since they have a lot of good batsmen. They need a bowling coach.
Q) How do you look at Anil Kumble as the Indian coach?
I think he is the perfect man to coach India. He has scored a Test hundred as well as picked 600 wickets in Test matches. He is the most positive person I have met; he never gives up and that is the reason why the young team can learn a lot from him.
Q) What do you think will be Kumble’s biggest task as the team’s coach?
The biggest task is defeating sides like England, South Africa and Australia when they tour India and how he copes up with pressure (remains to be seen). England, at the moment, are playing their best cricket and I hope India does well against them, just like they did well against South Africa in Test matches, last year.
Q) Do you think a consistent T20 player who scores runs in domestic leagues like the TNPL will excel in Test cricket as well?
Yes, definitely. At the end of the day, if you know how to score runs, you can score in any format of the game.

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