Stellar Kumble goes out on a tragic low

Last Updated: Wed, Jun 21, 2017 10:29 hrs
Despite having an excellent track record as both player and coach, legendary Anil Kumble had to step down after differences with skipper Virat Kohli

World Cup winning captain Kapil Dev went out in disgrace as India coach after a string of poor performances in 2000. His successor John Wright professionalized Indian cricket and saw many victories. However he too went out on a sour note most notably when we lost to Australia at home after 35 years in a Test series towards the end of his term.

Under Greg Chappell we won Test series in England and West Indies and then there was that world record 17 consecutive ODI chases. However he had a really torrid farewell after his row with Sourav Ganguly and India's first round exit in the 2007 ODI World Cup.

Duncan Fletcher had many successes like the 2013 ICC Champions Trophy and 4-0 Test series whitewash with Australia, but his last assignment saw us getting royally thrashed in the 2015 ODI World Cup semi-final with Australia.

Now Anil Kumble joins the inglorious coaching exit club.

Kumble was appointed as India's Head Coach in June 2016 and since then India has played eight bilateral series. Guess how many India has won? All of them! How's that for a stellar record?

In terms of tournaments, we lost narrowly in the 2016 T20 World Cup semi-finals and reached the finals of the 2017 ICC Champions Trophy. However all those good deeds have been firmly pushed to the background!

All people remember now is the Kumble-Virat Kohli tiff before the tournament, Team India getting divided over the issue, our getting absolutely plastered in the CT final and a forlorn-looking isolated and dejected Kumble on his own after that defeat.

A sad end to a great man’s yet another stint. Kumble probably is still India's greatest match-winner in Test cricket. He never got his due. He had a very short stint at India captaincy. He quit from Karnataka cricket after a short period at a time when mediocre administrators stay for life.

Now Kumble's had one of the shortest coaching careers in recent times, even briefer than that of Chappell despite such a stellar performance. Kumble is a thorough professional and gentleman and cricketing life has been very unfair on him.

Now one understands why Gary Kirsten went out in 2011 despite everyone forcing him to continue. You can’t get better than winning the ODI World Cup in cricket! He left on a rare all-time high.

India may go in for the kill with West Indies

India may have had a rare off day in the Champions Trophy final, but they have been among the most consistent teams in the shorter format in the 2010s winning series and tournaments with great regularity.

Don't forget that we won the World Cup in 2011, the Champions Trophy in 2013 and the Asia Cup in 2016. While we have slipped a bit in the ODI rankings and are at No. 3, we will become No. 2 if we blank the Windies 5-0. Tough, but not impossible!

With the exception of Rohit Sharma who had just recovered from injury, India has decided to go in with a full strength team. Virat Kohli became the fastest to cross 8000 ODI runs recently and he is fourth on the list of most ODI centuries.

Sachin Tendulkar has 49, Ricky Ponting 30 and Sanath Jayasuriya 28. Kohli has 27 and could become No. 2 this year itself. Of course he can't breathe easy as behind him is Hashim Amla (25) and AB de Villiers (24).

Chris Gayle has 22 ODI centuries, but the board totally ruined his career otherwise he would have had many more. Shikhar Dhawan is 233 runs short of 4000 and Ravichandran Ashwin is 4 wickets short of 150. It remains to be seen how many milestones Team India achieves on this tour.

Sir Ravindra Jadeja has 1903 runs and 155 wickets. He’ll be looking to get his 2000th run and much later make it a double if he gets 200 wickets.

West Indies may be two-time T20 World champions, but they have been totally indifferent in Tests and ODIs. In ODIs they are currently ranked at No. 9 just ahead of Afghanistan and for the first time in history, they did not automatically qualify for the 2019 ODI World Cup!

Others get a chance to cement their place

Ajinkya Rahane, Mohammed Shami and Umesh Yadav have been in and out of the team and it remains to be seen if they get a chance to cement their place. Ashwin is currently our number one match-winner in Tests but he looks totally uncertain in ODIs.

Then there are the potential ODI debutants Rishabh Pant and Kuldeep Yadav. Rishabh is a wicket keeper batsman. He is just 19 and already has an illustrious career. He scored the fastest 50 in 18 balls in under-19 cricket.

In Ranji Trophy, he hit a century in 48 balls and also hit a triple century and was made Delhi captain earlier this year. In IPL, he has a 25-ball 50 and narrowly missed hitting one of the fastest centuries, with a 97 off 43.

One wonders if Kohli might be tempted to get him to open the innings in the absence of Rohit.

Kuldeep Yadav is a slow left-arm Chinaman and will find it tougher to make a debut in the presence of Jadeja, Ashwin and part-timer Kedar Jadhav. Kuldeep was also part of the 2014 West Indies squad but failed to make a debut then.

Kuldeep has a hat-trick at the under-19 level and took 4 wickets in his first innings during his Test debut in the Australia series earlier this year.

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