In his lifetime, Anil Kumble was India's ultimate match-winner. His tally of 619 wickets puts him third in the all-time list of wicket-takers in Tests. He is best remembered for being only the second man after Jim Laker to take all 10 Test wickets in an innings. Outside of international cricket, Kumble had mixed success as a mentor to the Royal Challengers Bangalore franchise but was instrumental in Mumbai Indians becoming a force to reckon with during his stint there. Now, Kumble is all set to be part of a third IPL franchise as he prepares to take over as the director of cricket operations at Kings XI Punjab.
Apart from the IPL, Kumble was the coach of the Indian cricket team for one year but he controversially was replaced by Ravi Shastri following the final loss in the ICC Champions Trophy to Pakistan in 2017 over reports that his relationship with skipper Virat Kohli was untenable. Speaking about his mantra on coaching, Kumble had one simple bit of advice.
"Back off and help the players relax. With RCB we did not win the title but we came close a couple of times. With Mumbai, we had wonderful success those three years I was there. It is nice to have the experience of crossing the line. It certainly helps (you as a coach). It is all about a game of cricket at the end of it. If you simplify like that the job becomes a lot easier. The moment you start putting importance to result, wins, trophies then it puts more pressure on the players. So the learning is just to back off and help the players relax and when they are relaxed they tend to perform better," Kumble said.
Kumble, who wants to add more experience to the Punjab squad, will soon start strategising for the IPL auction in December. "You learn from the previous experiences you have had as a player, as a coach but IPL is a rollercoaster ride. You need to be patient and then back the players you have. Generally because of certain results you tend to start looking at other teams and that starts influencing your decision and that is the last thing you want," Kumble said.
One hopes Kumble has immense success during his stint with Kings XI Punjab as he approaches a glorious half-century.