Will Anil Kumble be back as India's head coach?
In a major development, the BCCI could approach Anil Kumble again for the role of Team India's head coach. The news comes days after Virat Kohli announced that he will step down as T20I captain after the completion of the impending T20 World Cup. Notably, Kumble held the post between 2016 and 2017. However, a fallout between him and Kohli resulted in his exit.
The contracts of Team India's incumbent coach Ravi Shastri, bowling coach Bharat Arun, and fielding coach R Sridhar will expire following the T20 WC. Therefore, the BCCI is believed to have approached Kumble for the role of head coach. As per reports, the cricket board has also contacted Sri Lanka's Mahela Jayawardene and India's VVS Laxman for the same.
Kumble was appointed as India's coach in June 2016. Under him, India registered series victories against several nations. Despite a successful tenure, Kumble stepped down from his role following the 2017 ICC Champions Trophy. Kumble, in his statement, had said, "I was informed for the first time yesterday that the captain had reservations with my 'style' and about my continuing as the Head Coach."
Right after Kumble was appointed the head coach, India beat West Indies 2-0 in the Test series. India later defeated New Zealand and England (Tests) to extend their unbeaten record at home. They made a terrific comeback against the Australians, having lost the first Test of the four-match series (won 2-1). India also registered two ODI series wins under Kumble (beat NZ and England).
It is understood that the incumbent BCCI president, Sourav Ganguly, wanted Kumble to continue as head coach in 2017 despite Kohli's "reservations". Notably, Ganguly was a member of the BCCI's Cricket Improvement Committee (CIC) back then.
Kumble is presently serving as the head coach and director of cricket operations for the IPL franchise Punjab Kings. He will have to give up any other assignments before re-joining India's coaching set-up. Moreover, Kumble is is also the head of the ICC Cricket Committee. It remains to be seen the if the BCCI re-appoints Kumble with Kohli still at the helm.
Kumble remains the greatest leg-spinner in Indian cricket. Over a decade after his retirement, he is still the fourth-highest wicket-taker in Test cricket and highest among Indians. Kumble owns 619 Test wickets from 132 matches with the best match haul of 14/149. He is the only Indian to have taken all 10 wickets in an innings of a Test (10/74 vs Pakistan, 1999).