One of Mumbai Indians’ early recruits ahead of IPL 2013 was their team mentor, Anil Kumble. It was also perhaps, their smartest move, to get on board a man who has tremendous understanding of the game of cricket on the whole and that of the IPL. (Also Read: CSK vs MI - Final Report & Stats: IPL 2013)
After his illustrious international career, the former India captain has been involved in the IPL as a player, captain and mentor. He dons the administrator’s hat too, thus enabling him of decision-making and planning right. (Also See: IPL 2013 Winner Mumbai Indians Celebrations - Pics)
MI’s move to hire one of the shrewdest brains in Indian cricket paid rich dividends in the form of the IPL 2013 Trophy.
We, at IPLT20.com, spoke with Anil Kumble about the process that went behind the closed doors of the dressing room to lead MI to their long-desired IPL title.
The whole new leadership group, that MI put together, seems to have done wonders
Our job was just to create an environment where players could go and play to their potential and the team has responded exceptionally well. I’m really glad that after five years, on sixth attempt –both as player and mentor – I have finally won an IPL Trophy. It’s great to be on the winning side.
With a team in abundance of wealth in their management group, how does the distribution of role work?
We are all professionals and everybody understands their role. It’s always nice to have some experienced heads working together.
Did it help as the team mentor that there was already a good relationship with the coach?
Oh, yes, of course! As soon as I became the team mentor the first call I made was to John (Wright) to find out whether he was available to coach and he readily agreed. We have a good partnership and we know each other well since our Team India days. The next job was to choose a leader and Ricky (Ponting) was the obvious choice. With Sachin there, it all seemed complete. The owners too have been great and it’s been fantastic for us.
What has been the biggest contribution of Ricky Ponting to the team?
His leadership has been brilliant. It’s never easy when you’re nominated as the captain and you have to sit out of games. It’s not been easy for him too but he has handled it commendably. His experience of being part of winning Australian teams has certainly helped. He knows how to motivate the players and what exactly to say to the players.
How much have you been involved with the spinners in the team?
I have passed on whatever little information I have about playing in the IPL and bowling in T20. I have tried to encourage both Bhajji (Harbhajan Singh) and (Pragyan) Ojha to bowl to their best. I’m glad that they have done well and helped us win.