Rohit Sharma looks forward to working with ‘inspirational’ Kumble

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Welcoming the appointment of Anil Kumble as the new India head coach, star India batsman, Rohit Sharma, has said that the team would greatly benefit from the former leg spinner’s attacking instincts. The flamboyant batsman also showered praise on Ravi Shastri, who was named first as the manager and then as the team director, in a stop-gap arrangement by the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), following Duncan Fletcher’s exit post-World Cup 2015.
“He (Shastri) took up the responsibility when we were in (a) shambles,” Rohit said, interacting with the media on the sidelines of the ‘Express Adda’ event on Monday (June 27), in Mumbai. “Kumble’s thinking about the game is so different from the rest… It just amazes you… the kind of stuff he talks about and what he brings to the table is absolutely brilliant”, Sharma added, when asked about Kumble’s appointment.
Shastri held the team director’s post for a span of 18 months, during which India recorded series wins in Sri Lanka and then vanquished South Africa at home. Under him, India reached the semi-final of the 2016 World Twenty20 at home, but also lost a home One Day International (ODI) series to South Africa and were beaten by Bangladesh as well. Having been backed by the Test captain, Virat Kohli, Shastri was the odds-on favourite to be named as India’s head coach, only to be pipped at the post by Kumble. Describing Shastri as a big influence on Indian cricket, Rohit said: ” As soon as he came, he
created a positive atmosphere around us.”
Rohit, who has worked under Kumble in the past, is confident that the champion leg-spinner will take the nation to new heights with his wisdom and inspiration. “I have two years of experience at Mumbai Indians and I know the kind of things we spoke about. I was the captain and he was the coach and mentor of the team. I got to learn a lot from him,” he said.
“I was fortunate enough to play with him during the last months before he retired. I remember in 2008, I was part of the Test squad to Sri Lanka and he (Kumble) was the captain. And he always had this attitude of never giving up, which as a young player is so inspiring. He is someone who is very inspiring with the way he’s played his cricket… he’s trying to inspire people to try and take up the challenge which is lying in front of you, and react to those challenges. He will always be there for you as a mentor and coach,” he added. Talking about Kumble as a role model, Rohit recalled the playing days of the man fondly called ‘Jumbo’ and hoped that he would bring the same attributes to the coaching table. “You have to keep fighting no matter what. If the game is slipping away from your hands, don’t give up till the last ball is bowled. That’s how he played his cricket. You will get the feeling that he was someone who wouldn’t let go too easily. That’s the kind of message that he wanted to send across. That’s the kind of message we also want as young players. He’s very inspiring,” Rohit said.
With a record number of 13 consecutive Tests to be played at home, all eyes have been cast on the nature of pitches, especially after the BCCI came under fire for the ‘spinning tracks’ which were on offer for the visiting South African team late last year. In a frank admission, Rohit said it was a tactical strategy from the team management to exploit the opposition’s weakness against spin and all but ruled out similar kind of tracks when the New Zealanders come calling later this year.
“As a group, as Team India, we decided that we wanted to dominate this series (against South Africa) and the first way of domination was to use our home advantage, which every team does around the world. We go to Australia, they are not going to give us what we want. They wil l prepare pitches according to what they want. South Africa, England, anywhere you go,” said Sharma.
“Firstly, I don’t understand why there was so much of an issue made with the conditions. It’s the home conditions, we have to use it.
As a group, we all sat down and decided what we were going to do with the pitches… All we wanted was to get results. We knew that the South African team lacked in their spin department and we had a gem of a spin attack. We wanted to use that,” he concluded.

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