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India vs West Indies: Can new coach Anil Kumble live up to his billing?

Rohan Raj | Updated on: 10 February 2017, 1:48 IST

After a jam-packed limited-overs schedule, the Indian cricket team will begin their four-match Test tour when they take on hosts West Indies in the first match at the Sir Vivian Richards stadium in Antigua on 21 July.

While the Indian cricketers - including Test skipper Virat Kohli - will be eager to make a mark in the series, their new head coach Anil Kumble, too, will have a point to prove as he chases his first overseas win in the new role.

Fighting off tough competition from the likes of Ravi Shastri and Tom Moody, the veteran leg-spinner was appointed India's head coach in June, after an elaborate selection process headed by BCCI's cricket advisory committee comprising Sourav Ganguly, VVS Laxman and Sachin Tendulkar.

But, it was his detailed presentation aimed at improving India's overseas success that bowled the trio of former greats and made him a frontrunner for the top-job. It seems Kumble certainly had a plan in place which is why he was chosen ahead of someone like Shastri who had spent 18 months with the Indian team as director.

Following the departure of Duncan Fletcher in 2015, it was Shastri who helped the Indian team win their first Test series in Sri Lanka 2-1 after 22 years. The batting legend was also pivotal in India's 3-0 win against South Africa at home which saw the team rise to the no. 1 spot in Test rankings.

Matching Shastri's feat might be tough, but Kumble has already begun making his presence felt within the Indian camp, showcasing his strong work ethics and implementing a strict routine.

The 45-year-old spin wizard reintroduced the 'buddy system' to strengthen the weaknesses of the players, while he also founded the 'Fine Committee' to instill discipline in the Indian squad.

A 4-0 whitewash against the Windies could propel the Kohli brigade to the top spot in Test rankings, something that could give Kumble's coaching career a perfect start. But, more importantly, it will place the Indian team in a good position ahead of the home tours in the winter, where they will play 13 Tests against the likes of England, Australia and New Zealand.

Ever since beating South Africa 3-0 in December, the Indian cricket team has not featured in Test matches. But, given Kohli's success as captain and his sizzling form this year, Kumble will be eager to complement the Indian Test captain to achieve success in the Caribbean.

First published: 19 July 2016, 4:48 IST
Rohan Raj @ro4an_raj

After a poor stint in gully-cricket quashed his hopes of turning pro, Rohan moved away from the playing field and began criticising those who were still on it. Football eases his mind and watching City paint Manchester blue is his elusive dream. When not talking, thinking or dreaming about sports, Rohan can be found listening to EDM or watching movies. A sports correspondent at Catch News, he has previously worked with Hindustan Times, Daily Bhaskar and India Today.