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Monday, 7 October 2013

Anil Kumble Renews Love Affair With Feroz Shah Kotla


Anil Kumble shares a special relationship with the Feroz Shah Kotla Stadium. Many of his bowling exploits for India were architected there, including the historic 10-wicket haul against Pakistan in 1999. It was on this very ground where the former India captain played his final international match, in 2008. (Also Read: Sachin Tendulkar: All My Dreams Have Come True)

India’s highest wicket-taker in Test cricket now has another reason to remember his favourite cricket ground fondly. This time, however, it is not for his own performance but that of his wards at the Mumbai Indians. The mentor of the team was brimming with pride after MI drubbed the Rajasthan Royals by 33 runs in the final to lift the Champions League Twenty20 2013 trophy. (Also Read: Rohit Sharma: My Team Stuck By Me Through Thick and Thin)

In a chat with clt20.com, Kumble spoke about the jittery start his team made to the tournament and how they fought back to take the title. He paid a loving tribute to his old India teammate and one of his best friends, Rahul Dravid, who was playing his last match in competitive cricket. (Also Read: Kieron Pollard: Fantastic To Win Two Championships In One Year)

Here are excerpts from his chat:

Another fond memory of the Feroz Shah Kotla to take away

Yes, absolutely. The last three games here have been fantastic .The boys have played brilliantly to see us through again. Beating Perth Scorchers like that was not an easy task, especially on a Kotla pitch, which hosted its first game of the season. To do what they have done is exceptional. I think Rohit Sharma has led from the front and everybody contributed. Today the way Glenn Maxwell played and Harbhajan Singh bowled to get us through, was brilliant.

What was the mood after the first loss and the washout and how did the team pick itself up?

It was hard because everybody was looking forward to playing. In Ahmedabad, we just sat around watching the rain, which was not an easy task. We spoke to the organizers and they agreed to our request to shift our next game (to Jaipur) because there was no chance of playing. It was nice that we could go to Jaipur, win the game and put ourselves on the points table. From there, getting to Delhi two games prior to the final helped us in knowing the conditions.

On the scale of one to 10, how much credit do you give the new MI support staff for this tremendous turnaround?

(Laughs) I think the credit should go to the boys. Our job is to only ensure that they are absolutely comfortable and in the right space as far as their mental space is concerned. Yes, it is not an easy task when you have to leave out someone like a Mitchell Johnson for the final and/or to leave out Glenn Maxwell in the semi-final. So, you have to make those tough choices; it was hard to do all those things, in a short format. But kudos to John Wright and the rest of the support staff who have been exceptional. I think winning the IPL certainly gave us the boost and the confidence that come final, we’ll be in a better space. 

A word on the Rajasthan Royals – they might not have a lot of superstars, but they fought with all their might

Oh yes, they batted brilliantly. They played fantastic cricket. The way Sanju Samson and Ajinkya Rahane started it off, it was a tough ask. This is a wicket where if you get going, it is not easy for the bowlers to contain. Hats off to them; they won all their home games. 

It was also the last time that we saw Rahul Dravid bat

It is hard to see someone who I played with go out like this from the game. Rahul has been exceptional in the way he has played his cricket and hats off to him for making RR succeed the way they have. It was a tough challenge for us, but I am happy that we were able to overcome that. 

One of the beautiful stories that came out from this tournament was that of Pravin Tambe. What are your thoughts on the leg-spinner?

This is a sort of a format where if you are smart, confident, have a calm mind and the necessary skills, you can play irrespective of what your age is. He has proved those wrong who feel that in this tournament you need to be young. As a bowler it is extremely important that you show a calm and cool attitude when someone is going after you. In that way he has been exceptional.

You have seen Sachin Tendulkar for all these years. Have you ever seen him not wanting to get out of the bed and not wanting to play cricket?

No. I don’t think I have ever seen that. It is great that someone like him after 24 years still has the same kind of enthusiasm, whether it is net practice or a match. It’s unbelievable.

source: clt20.com


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