Anil Kumble, India coach, hopes the Virat Kohli-led team its winning run in the Test series against Australia.(AFP)
Anil Kumble, India coach, hopes the Virat Kohli-led team its winning run in the Test series against Australia.(AFP)

Why Anil Kumble won’t ask Virat Kohli’s boys to curb aggression in Ranchi Test

India coach Anil Kumble feels the BCCI was mature in issuing a joint statement with Cricket Australia to move on from the Steve Smith controversy but said he won’t ask his players to curb their natural instincts.
By Somshuvra Laha | Hindustan Times, Ranchi
UPDATED ON MAR 14, 2017 07:06 PM IST

India coach Anil Kumble said it was ‘mature’ of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) to withdraw the complaint against Australia captain Steve Smith and allow the focus to shift back on what has been a highly intense series.

Speaking during the first media interaction ahead of the Ranchi Test, Kumble said the team had moved on from the Bangalore Test that was mired in controversy over Steve Smith looking at the dressing room to get help on a review. Virat Kohli objected to it, the umpires too intervened at the right time but the matter boiled over outside the field and beyond the result of the second Test. Anil Kumble is happy all that is over.

Read | Sunil Gavaskar criticises ICC for no action against Steve Smith in DRS row

“I think what was important was to focus back on the game. I am very glad the BCCI took a very mature call with Cricket Australia and issue a joint statement that cricket needs to move on and moved out from whatever happened in Bangalore,” said Kumble on Tuesday.

“That I think is important because the focus has to be on the game. I thought we made a really fantastic comeback after losing the first Test. It was very rewarding,” he said, adding that the two captains, Virat Kohli and Steve Smith, will meet before this Test.

Read | To say Steve Smith cheated is ‘outrageous’: Cricket Australia

No curbing instincts

Despite the hue and cry over on-field behaviour, Kumble made it clear that he will not ask his players to pipe down. “I don’t want to curb any natural instinct of the players as long as they go out there and do what is expected of them. I don’t think we need to read too much into the aggression. Every player has his own way of having a game face.

“And that’s what you want. You want everyone to go out there and show what they are capable of. This is a very important series. It’s 1-1. Both teams will come hard in this game. I’m sure cricket will be the winner. As custodians of this great game, we believe it’s important that we look after the game. Key stakeholders are the players and they certainly understand their responsibility,” he said.

Read | Did Steve Smith ‘cheat’ India on DRS in Bangalore Test? Virat Kohli hints so

Kumble also said the team is not affected by too much talk over DRS and the pitches in the two Test. “It doesn’t affect our game. We only want to play. We are not doing the talking but you are. We are just playing and thinking about the game on the field,” said Kumble.

Rahul stands out

The overall batting may have taken a dip this series but Kumble is taking comfort from the way the team has bounced back. “I think Day 2 (of Bangalore Test) was fantastic. There was attrition. Only 190 runs were scored and six wickets taken but the intensity and control with which our bowlers bowled, especially the pacers, showed character. That’s what you want to see in a team --- a lot of character and pride in doing things and coming back and winning a Test match,” he said.

“What stood out for me was KL Rahul’s batting in both innings in Bangalore and the (118-run) partnership between Cheteshwar Pujara and Ajinkya Rahane. If you look at the series so far we haven’t had a wicket-less session. But we scored more than 90 runs in that session without losing a wicket. That was a defining moment.”

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