Stay aggressive, but within limits, says Kumble

Cricket

Finding the right balance could well be the theme for India as they set out for the Test tour of the West Indies. Anil Kumble is taking early steps after taking over as coach while Test skipper Virat Kohli will return to the Caribbean, where he made his debut on the previous Test tour in 2011.

In the series, which India won 1-0, Kohli had a tough initiation as the fast bowlers, led by Fidel Edwards, targeted his rib cage.

Five years on, Kohli will be expected to be the enforcer-in-chief for India. The West Indies pacers will be braced for the aggressive approach India have sworn by under Kohli’s leadership in the last year or so. BALANCE Kumble too was known for his aggression as a player, but India’s greatest Test and ODI bowler never overstepped the mark. As the captain and coach spoke to the media on Monday ahead of the team’s departure for the four-Test series, Kumble was asked to give his take on his captain’s temperament.

Kumble praised Kohli’s attitude, comparing it with his own aggression, but sent a quiet message to the younger man seated by his side. “I love his aggression. I was no different, although very different in terms of how we came across in the field. But you don’t want to curb aggression. I will be the last person to curb someone’s natural instincts,” he said in Bengaluru ahead of India’s departure for West Indies tour.

“Of course, we all know how important it is to be ambassadors of India and to be a part of the Indian cricket team. We will ensure that there is a thin line and everyone knows that.”

Kohli’s focus will be on playing the leader to India’s batting unit. In the home series against South Africa late last year, India won 3-0 but on largely underprepared pitches, and the batsmen struggled.

With India due to play 17 Tests in the next year, he wants the batsmen to cash in on the continuity of playing the longer format and become a cohesive unit.

“The South Africa series was low scoring but one thing we need to realise is to focus on the things we did wrong as a batting group,” he said.

Among bowlers, Kohli was confident Mohammed Shami, who has not played a Test since the series in Australia early last year due to knee injury, will spearhead the attack, especially with the West Indies pitches expected to aid reverse swing.

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