India news September 30, 2010

NCA to focus on character as well as cricket - Kumble

ESPNcricinfo staff

Former India captain Anil Kumble has said that his responsibilities as National Cricket Academy (NCA) chairman will involve the moulding of the personalities of young players in addition to imparting cricketing skills. Kumble's appointment to the role, replacing Ravi Shastri, was announced by the BCCI on Wednesday.

"The way I see it, it's an opportunity to put together a structure that will help in the development of young cricketers," Kumble told Hindustan Times. "The role of the NCA is not just to churn out cricketers, but to churn out really good personalities and well-rounded individuals.

"This is not something that will happen in a year or two. It's a continuous process for various sets of cricketers, right from the youngsters who are in the NCA to those who come back to it at different stages."

Kumble retired from international cricket in 2008, finishing as India's highest wicket-taker in the Test and ODI formats. He has continued playing in the IPL, with his elevation to the captaincy role for Royal Challengers Bangalore sparking a revival in the team's fortunes. After finishing seventh out of eight teams in the inaugural edition, they reached the knock-out stages of the next two seasons under him, making the cut for the Champions League on both occasions. The NCA role puts him in a good position to pursue his ambition of guiding India's young cricketing talent.

"It will help that I'm still involved in that many of the youngsters around would have played either with me or against me. It will help that they have some sort of comfort level with me and that they can approach me if they need something," Kumble said.

While saying he was keen on developing the next line of cricketers for the country, Kumble did not lose sight of the present. Rigorous schedules and lucrative Twenty20 leagues have had their say on fitness, forcing India to play important tournaments without their first-choice cricketers. Kumble was aware of the situation and told the newspaper DNA that the NCA would address the challenge of keeping the players match-fit.

"There must be a pipeline in place for a fresh talent pool to emerge, but we must also make sure the present talent pool remains focussed, motivated and in the best physical and mental shape to keep delivering for the country," he said.