Chennai v Mumbai, IPL final, Kolkata May 27, 2013

Mentor Kumble relishes Mumbai win

ESPNcricinfo staff

Anil Kumble and John Wright were two important additions to the Mumbai Indians team this year even though their expensive player acquisitions before the start of the tournament had hogged most of the limelight. Along with Ricky Ponting and Sachin Tendulkar, they had formed a strong mentoring group which Kumble thought "seemed complete" and were instrumental in the team winning its first IPL title.

"As soon as I became the team mentor the first call I made was to John [Wright] to find out whether he was available to coach and he readily agreed," Kumble told the IPL site. "We have a good partnership and we know each other well since our Team India days. The next job was to choose a leader and Ricky [Ponting] was the obvious choice. With Sachin there, it all seemed complete."

After below average showing in the first two seasons of the IPL, Mumbai Indians came close to winning the title in 2010, but lost to Chennai Super Kings in the final. They continued their dominance in the league stages in the following two seasons, but were knocked out in the playoffs. This year though, they peaked towards the end of the tournament, winning seven of their nine matches including the final against Super Kings at Eden Gardens.

Asked what the new mentoring group did right, Kumble said, "Our job was just to create an environment where players could go and play to their potential and the team has responded exceptionally well. I'm really glad that after five years, on sixth attempt - both as player and mentor - I have finally won an IPL Trophy. It's great to be on the winning side."

The team had a quiet start to the tournament after which their captain Ricky Ponting, struggling to make an impact on the field, decided to drop himself from the XI. But Ponting's leadership skills came in handy, Kumble said. "It's never easy when you're nominated as the captain and you have to sit out of games. It's not been easy for him too but he has handled it commendably. His experience of being part of winning Australian teams has certainly helped. He knows how to motivate the players and what exactly to say to the players."

It was Wright's first year in the IPL and the win thrilled the former India coach. "It is unbelievable. It is the big league, and there are tough games in it. I always wanted to come here and experience it as a coach," he said. "We have played well as a team and have really come together, particularly in our fielding and our bowling. We had to hustle on Sunday night. We had a pretty tough start and we managed to get 148, which was good. "

Wright said the team tried to be fearless and aggressive after they had to make tough decisions early on. They played two fast bowlers as their overseas players consistently and Wright praised the way Lasith Malinga and Mitchell Johnson responded. Johnson was the leading wicket-taker for the team with 24 wickets, while Malinga, who had a relatively below-par season, bowled a match-winning spell in the final.

"Eden Gardens has been so wonderful to me, I will never forget 2001 against Australia. This one ranks right next to it," Wright said.

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Abhishek on May 27, 2013, 16:02 GMT

    @Peter Walters: I just gotta say this to u man, it is a classic case of The pot calling the kettle black . If u don't have an inferiority complex why call urself PETER WALTERS?? And I m not a Sanjay manjrekar fan either!

  • Peter on May 27, 2013, 15:26 GMT

    I am very disappointed with Anil Kumble and Tendulkar. First of all asking Ponting to be the leader speaks of an inferiority complex. I see this in Sanjay Manjerakar too. Kapil Dev, Sunny, or Amarnath never had this. How many T20 games has Ponting played in his career? Watching the final I got the feeling Rohit Sharma would have been a better choice as a captain for the season. He has played more games, knows the local conditions, and local players. How many games did Ponting play in this IPL? He sat on the bench and made money. He could have done this sitiing in the stands. What is Kumble's role? Should not coach Wright be a mentor? The whole show is like R&D- Redundant Dudes doing Redundant Duties. In my opinion Ponting is a good Test player. After Ponting's behavior with Indians during India's tour of Australia, I would'nthave even selected him to play for Mumbai as a player. Do you think any Australian team would ask an Indian to lead their team. They're not fools!!

  • Vishal on May 27, 2013, 14:43 GMT

    Teams pick people. RCB let go of Kumble and then Dravid, they consciously made decision to keep the team young and that is what they have. If MI didn't win it then people would have piled on dismissive remarks about them: money doesn't buy everything, waste of talent, and so on.

    John Wright, Kumble, and Tendulkar together, it brings in nostalgia. I have fond memories of Wright as Indian team's coach, they missed winning the 2003 WC. Kirsten did the same for the team.

    IPL won't be the same for me without Tendulkar and to some extent Dravid. But it is too early to say, lets not get carried away. For Sachin fans, enjoy this win. For Sachin (I hope he plays) and Rahul fans, soak in every moment of CLT20!

  • Dummy4 on May 27, 2013, 10:59 GMT

    Thankfully we got to see colossal players Tendulkar and Kumble reunited once more. I heard during the MI Sun match, Anil bowled leggies to Sachin to get him practice for Hyderabad's legspinners. What a sight it must have been, these two amazing players together... While I am CSK supporter, these two made me love MI totally!

  • hari on May 27, 2013, 10:25 GMT

    If you look at it, MI had more stars in the support team than in the middle. Wright, Kumble, Jonty, Robin and add Ponting and Sachin to it for the last 3 matches, its one big team in itself. A successful opener as coach, the best Indian spinner as mentor, the best fielder in the world as fielding coach assisted by the most talented all-rounder, most successful captain as leader and a legend as a member. What more do you want. I think not winning would have been a waste of investment for MI. Kumble has rightly said, players responded splendidly otherwise this would have been an RCB performance. MI have not only won the IPL6 but have also unearthed an alternative to Dhoni as captain. Rohit looks a natural leader and can be looked at as future India captain especialy in tests. With Sachin almost certain to retire this year, Rohit should be roped into the side and should be groomed into the future captain of the country. Very well done MI, you deserved to win and did in style. Congrats!

  • raj on May 27, 2013, 10:17 GMT

    Dear truth_bearer, the IPL is a professional league - players and administrators will represent the franchise that employs them and pays them. Much in the way of Jose Mourinho, Rafael Benitez and David Beckham do in the EPL or other football leagues.This is, in fact, one benefit for Indian cricket as fans would be less inclined to claim state bias! Don't see too many other advantages of IPL when it comes to Test/ Real cricket!

  • Narasimha on May 27, 2013, 10:12 GMT

    @truth_bearer: Look, Kumble was the reason for RCB to be runner-up in 2009 IPL. In 2010 RCB didn't commit to buy him in auction at all costs. He then withdrew from auction to be mentor at RCB. He was instrumental in RCB doing well in previous seasons. Now that RCB doesn't have any mentor shows that they were inclined to fire him. Hence Kumble chose a honorable path of quitting the franchise. You have to ask these questions to Mallya, not Kumble

  • Unni on May 27, 2013, 10:02 GMT

    @ truth_bearer: Actually Kumble was forced to change the teams or rather done the right thing when his personal interest were questioned.He is the KSCA chairman who is also the mentor of the local IPL team which was a conflict of interest and rightly he switched the team and solved the problem.Hope some others will also follow this example atleast now.

  • Narabavi on May 27, 2013, 9:31 GMT

    Welldone gentlemen! Their only mistake was not bowling Malinga upfront !

  • Dummy4 on May 27, 2013, 9:11 GMT

    giving rohit d captaincy ahead of karthik & bhajji was a master stroke i believe, bcos he's so calm & amaeture with his thinking. even he gets out on zero, he's not bothered. he doesnt seems 2 b affected with his personal failures & crticism.appreciable!

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