November 12, 2007

Ripe for the picking

Of all the jobs in a cricket team, the captain's is the one to which a few wrinkles are most conducive
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Kumble: "been everywhere, done everything, seen it all before" © Getty Images

As a non-Indian cricket lover, you don't often find yourself casting admiring glances at the Indian selectors, but they have just got two big decisions right. One was appointing Mahendra Singh Dhoni captain for the World Twenty20. The other was not appointing him as Test captain. These are two very different games, and for the moment, in India, they require different captains.

Dhoni was right for Twenty20 partly because of his youth - he is 26. Ian Chappell thinks that's about the right age to become a Test captain. It was for him: he was 27, he had been in the team six years, and Australian cricketers in those far-off days seldom went on much beyond 30. But that was a generation and a half ago. These days, for most players, 26 is too young. Mike Atherton became a Test captain at 25: he wasn't ready. Nasser Hussain was 31: he was ready. Mark Taylor was 30: he was ready. Sachin Tendulkar was 23 the first time, and 26 the second: he wasn't ready either time.

This time round, the selectors had a brainstorm and offered the Test job to Tendulkar. When he sensibly declined, they had a brainwave and gave it to Anil Kumble. It's one of those choices that make you go "Of course! Why didn't they think of that earlier?" Kumble is intelligent, shrewd, resilient, respected, and vastly experienced. At 37 he might be considered too old; he has been in the Test team on and off, mostly on, for 17 years. But as long as you're still good enough to be in the team, which Kumble certainly is, how can you be too old to be captain?

Of all the jobs in a cricket team, the captain's is the one to which a few wrinkles are most conducive. The captain is a player-manager. He has to be at least semi-detached from his team-mates. He needs to have encountered triumph, disaster, good form, bad form, good captains, bad captains, and (above all) the stinging rebuke of being dropped. He should have been everywhere, done everything, seen it all before. Kumble pretty much has, from a ten-wicket haul to a Test century. He has played Tests in all ten countries, he is the third highest wicket-taker of all time, and his game runs on nous.

In most walks of life 37 is still young to be the person in charge. Even in cricket there are plenty of precedents. Ray Illingworth, one of the few England captains to win a Test series in Australia, took over at 37. Like Kumble he was a spinner and doughty lower-order batsman; a much less good bowler, but a better batsman. Mike Brearley, another Ashes colossus, didn't play Test cricket till he was 34, and only became England captain by default (when Tony Greig was sacked for recruiting players for Kerry Packer) at 35.

Even Australia have had their oldie captains: Bob Simpson was 41 when he was fished out of retirement to captain the Packer-depleted team of 1977-78, and Steve Waugh was 34 when he became captain and 38 when he finished. Imran Khan lifted the World Cup at 39; Clive Lloyd won a series in Australia at 40. Of course there have also been some elderly captains who haven't been great: while Inzamam-ul-Haq may be a dear old thing, Pakistan found new zip when he handed over to the much younger Shoaib Malik. But in a game that has begun to chuck players on the scrapheap when they are barely 35, it's good to see a veteran given the chance to apply his hard-earned expertise to captaincy.

Whether Kumble is a success will hinge on many things, only some of which are in his control. But his appointment is a breath of fresh air. And it makes the England selectors' handling of Mark Ramprakash, Kumble's near contemporary, look even more ageist.

Tim de Lisle is the author of Young Wisden (reviewed here) and a former editor of Wisden Cricket Monthly. His website is here

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • POSTED BY Grudge.Kid on | November 14, 2007, 23:02 GMT

    Why is everyone talking about Kumble's aggression? What do you know about aggression? Look at his record as the captain for his team, Karnataka. Look at his bowling aggression.

  • POSTED BY vijay69 on | November 14, 2007, 21:21 GMT

    Good sense prevailed at last for the selectors. Though Kumble was their second choice (should have been their first really), they have called right in quite some time

  • POSTED BY Aarfi on | November 14, 2007, 10:55 GMT

    Its good enough when India are playing at home and Kumble is an automatic selection. Would it always be same when they have to play 3 quicks and a spinner?? Kumble would always stay in playing 11 over Harbhajan just for being captain regardless of current form.

  • POSTED BY sonador on | November 14, 2007, 4:11 GMT

    Well, this seems like the classic BCCI story - almost like a rerun of some old Hindi movie being remade in 2007. Make a stopgap arrangement that puts off what must be done today to tommorrow and hope that the today's problem will vanish. While I congratulate the Board on a wise decision (more of a picking from limited options), what is going really spoil the scene for the wise men is if KUMBLE LEADS TEAM INDIA TO A SERIES WIN IN AUSTRALIA. Whom will you drop then. Whom will you retain. Whom will you groom. A delicious scenario I say

  • POSTED BY ndogcricfan on | November 14, 2007, 2:52 GMT

    Kumble will make a good captain, but he lacks the aggressive style that Dhoni has-if runs need to be taken, Dhoni will tell the batsmen to hit hard. If wickets are needed, Dhoni will tell bowlers to simply throw the ball at the stumps. Also, in Australia, it would help to have a batsman as captain, since the pitches there are strange for batsmen to play on. But Kumble, if he's smart, will listen to Dhoni's ideas during the Test Series. Truth be told, Kumble isn't anything permanent; he's bound to retire soon. They're just trying to groom Dhoni and finally reward Kumble for his good work as a player

  • POSTED BY Ajnathi on | November 13, 2007, 18:20 GMT

    Beware Australia!!!

    Those who have underestimated Kumble have learnt the lesson the hardway. He will not speak, his deeds speak for himself. He is one of the Rarest breed of Aggressive, yet Gentlemanly cricketers. He is the perfect Rolemodel for any budding cricketers. His Main strength is DEDICATION to the Target. Even if you break his Jaw, he comes back to take wickets. that is his commitment to the team. Even though he is injured and out of the team, he guided the young harbhajan to finish the job. Now He is at the Helm of affairs, now it is your time to face the music. Kumble will show you How to win without resorting to sledging.

  • POSTED BY DoctorSatish on | November 13, 2007, 16:51 GMT

    Kumble's selection as test captain is indeed most welcome.Dhoni has to prove himself as a test match player, although he is undoubtedly one of the best ODI players.Captaining a side along with wicketkeeping in a TestMatch could be very difficult since momentary lapses in concentration can result in dropping a crucial catch,say that of Hayden or Ponting,and he will be made to rue that fact.Other important factor is that both Dinesh Kartik(who will be in the side as an opener and is a better keeper) and Parthiv Patel are in excellent form and can even replace Dhoni from the team.Moreover Yuvraj Singh is the form of his life time and cannot be ignored from the test team anymore.If he has a successful series against Pakistan and Australia he could be a very strong contender for the Captaincy.He is also a dynamic player and may very well go on to emulate the other south paw Sourav Ganguly as one of the best Indian Captains.2008 may well spring quite a few surprises in Indian Cricket

  • POSTED BY ivanjoseph on | November 13, 2007, 16:26 GMT

    Nobody can say the Kumble did not deserve to be captain - he's done it all as Tim mentions so certainly good for him. The more important question is is he the best choice - Ganguly with his aggressive attitude and excellent track record and Dhoni with his recent successes are the two other candidates who must have been considered seriously by the selectors.

    In my opinion all three of them deserved a chance and so one can't find fault with the selectors. Kumble will have the respect of the side because of his track record and will bring great intensity to the battle. He will also not back down from a challenge.

    So let's wish him well.

  • POSTED BY concerned_cricketer on | November 13, 2007, 16:16 GMT

    Yes, I agree with Tim De Lisle's analysis. Execellent decision by the selectors. It would have been even better if this decision was taken soon after Dravid resigned. In reply to Azfar's comment, no, just because a player is experienced he will not make a good captain. But it is widely know that Kumble has all the skills that are important to captaincy. If I remember right he also has quite a bit of experience captaining Karnataka in domestic cricket.

  • POSTED BY JD_04 on | November 13, 2007, 15:57 GMT

    Nice thoughts expressed here by Tim. Though i guess if experience was the main criteria for selecting the captain, isn't Ganguly much more experienced than Kumble(with due respects)regarding being the captain. Our board is solely driven by issues of politics and regional bias and has much less to do with cricketing logic. Though I sincerely hope that Kumble's sincerity and dedication wins him accolades in one of the most prestigious jobs of our country... and may he return from Australia with his head held high.

  • POSTED BY Grudge.Kid on | November 14, 2007, 23:02 GMT

    Why is everyone talking about Kumble's aggression? What do you know about aggression? Look at his record as the captain for his team, Karnataka. Look at his bowling aggression.

  • POSTED BY vijay69 on | November 14, 2007, 21:21 GMT

    Good sense prevailed at last for the selectors. Though Kumble was their second choice (should have been their first really), they have called right in quite some time

  • POSTED BY Aarfi on | November 14, 2007, 10:55 GMT

    Its good enough when India are playing at home and Kumble is an automatic selection. Would it always be same when they have to play 3 quicks and a spinner?? Kumble would always stay in playing 11 over Harbhajan just for being captain regardless of current form.

  • POSTED BY sonador on | November 14, 2007, 4:11 GMT

    Well, this seems like the classic BCCI story - almost like a rerun of some old Hindi movie being remade in 2007. Make a stopgap arrangement that puts off what must be done today to tommorrow and hope that the today's problem will vanish. While I congratulate the Board on a wise decision (more of a picking from limited options), what is going really spoil the scene for the wise men is if KUMBLE LEADS TEAM INDIA TO A SERIES WIN IN AUSTRALIA. Whom will you drop then. Whom will you retain. Whom will you groom. A delicious scenario I say

  • POSTED BY ndogcricfan on | November 14, 2007, 2:52 GMT

    Kumble will make a good captain, but he lacks the aggressive style that Dhoni has-if runs need to be taken, Dhoni will tell the batsmen to hit hard. If wickets are needed, Dhoni will tell bowlers to simply throw the ball at the stumps. Also, in Australia, it would help to have a batsman as captain, since the pitches there are strange for batsmen to play on. But Kumble, if he's smart, will listen to Dhoni's ideas during the Test Series. Truth be told, Kumble isn't anything permanent; he's bound to retire soon. They're just trying to groom Dhoni and finally reward Kumble for his good work as a player

  • POSTED BY Ajnathi on | November 13, 2007, 18:20 GMT

    Beware Australia!!!

    Those who have underestimated Kumble have learnt the lesson the hardway. He will not speak, his deeds speak for himself. He is one of the Rarest breed of Aggressive, yet Gentlemanly cricketers. He is the perfect Rolemodel for any budding cricketers. His Main strength is DEDICATION to the Target. Even if you break his Jaw, he comes back to take wickets. that is his commitment to the team. Even though he is injured and out of the team, he guided the young harbhajan to finish the job. Now He is at the Helm of affairs, now it is your time to face the music. Kumble will show you How to win without resorting to sledging.

  • POSTED BY DoctorSatish on | November 13, 2007, 16:51 GMT

    Kumble's selection as test captain is indeed most welcome.Dhoni has to prove himself as a test match player, although he is undoubtedly one of the best ODI players.Captaining a side along with wicketkeeping in a TestMatch could be very difficult since momentary lapses in concentration can result in dropping a crucial catch,say that of Hayden or Ponting,and he will be made to rue that fact.Other important factor is that both Dinesh Kartik(who will be in the side as an opener and is a better keeper) and Parthiv Patel are in excellent form and can even replace Dhoni from the team.Moreover Yuvraj Singh is the form of his life time and cannot be ignored from the test team anymore.If he has a successful series against Pakistan and Australia he could be a very strong contender for the Captaincy.He is also a dynamic player and may very well go on to emulate the other south paw Sourav Ganguly as one of the best Indian Captains.2008 may well spring quite a few surprises in Indian Cricket

  • POSTED BY ivanjoseph on | November 13, 2007, 16:26 GMT

    Nobody can say the Kumble did not deserve to be captain - he's done it all as Tim mentions so certainly good for him. The more important question is is he the best choice - Ganguly with his aggressive attitude and excellent track record and Dhoni with his recent successes are the two other candidates who must have been considered seriously by the selectors.

    In my opinion all three of them deserved a chance and so one can't find fault with the selectors. Kumble will have the respect of the side because of his track record and will bring great intensity to the battle. He will also not back down from a challenge.

    So let's wish him well.

  • POSTED BY concerned_cricketer on | November 13, 2007, 16:16 GMT

    Yes, I agree with Tim De Lisle's analysis. Execellent decision by the selectors. It would have been even better if this decision was taken soon after Dravid resigned. In reply to Azfar's comment, no, just because a player is experienced he will not make a good captain. But it is widely know that Kumble has all the skills that are important to captaincy. If I remember right he also has quite a bit of experience captaining Karnataka in domestic cricket.

  • POSTED BY JD_04 on | November 13, 2007, 15:57 GMT

    Nice thoughts expressed here by Tim. Though i guess if experience was the main criteria for selecting the captain, isn't Ganguly much more experienced than Kumble(with due respects)regarding being the captain. Our board is solely driven by issues of politics and regional bias and has much less to do with cricketing logic. Though I sincerely hope that Kumble's sincerity and dedication wins him accolades in one of the most prestigious jobs of our country... and may he return from Australia with his head held high.

  • POSTED BY msdhoni112 on | November 13, 2007, 15:38 GMT

    frozeninusa

    His overall average away from home is 35.5 comaped with 28.73 career average. shame. In australia is average is exactly 40 but he still has a healthy 29 wickets from 6 matches. In SA its 32. In WI its 31. Only in england its 41 but thats skewed cos of last tour where it wasnt good for spinners so SHAME.

    I wish you had got your facts sorted first instead of making yourself look like a twirp!

  • POSTED BY pbhoraskar on | November 13, 2007, 14:46 GMT

    The fact is that selectors have just delayed appointing Dhoni as the captain. Kumble might be forced to retire next year and that presents a convenient opportunity to elevate Dhoni. Kumble is just a stop-gap arrangement. Sadly for indian cricket lovers, this had to happen with two of the most enthralling series (Ind vs Pak, Aus) coming up.

  • POSTED BY cricketmad on | November 13, 2007, 14:39 GMT

    This is in response to frozeninusa- Kumble picked 24 wickets in 3 tests in Australia the last time India played there. He got a five wicket haul in the Adelaide test which India won and almost single handedly took India to what would have been a historic series victory in Sydney. It took all of Steve waugh's experience to Thwart Kumble in his last ever test innings. Dont make sweeping comments based on ignorance.

  • POSTED BY ssukumar_2007 on | November 13, 2007, 13:51 GMT

    I think its a wrong decision from the selectors.Kumble surely deserves a place in the playing eleven but not as a captain. I think Ganguly is the one who perfectly match that place. Remember last time he drawn the test series against Australia in Australia which is very tough. Appointing him as a captain would have been a fitting reply to Pointing and Co.Kumble's patience can help in his personal bowling but when it comes to capataincy, aggression matters most which Ganguly is the master.

  • POSTED BY frozeninusa on | November 13, 2007, 13:22 GMT

    Kumble's test record outside India is mediocre. His bowling averages in countries like Australia, England, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and New Zealand is over 40. Some of these places may not be spinner friendly perticulerly for his style, but the point is that Kumble at his age is not a certainty to walk into the team under any situation. That combined with the fact that Dhoni has done an excellent job as a captain not only by winning the world cup but also getting the respect of seniors and juniors alike, you have to say that the selectors have made a bad call. The Pakistan series was a perfect chance to make Dhoni captain and prepare him for the Australia series.

  • POSTED BY squarecutter on | November 13, 2007, 12:35 GMT

    This is a great decision by the indian selectors, I think Anil Kumble has waited for his time with patience, has experienced all the highs and lows of test cricket and has shown the appropriate skills and experience needed. With his test century, perfect ten (except Afridi didnt edge it) and over 500 test wickets he has done it all and now its his time to show the world how to captain India the right way.

  • POSTED BY Azfar on | November 13, 2007, 12:15 GMT

    Good to read the views of a neutral observer like Tim De Lisle on Kumble's elevation.But the question remains that does lot of experience and seeing it all makes good captains. If that was the case then Sir Richard Hadlee, Courtney Walsh, Muralidharan, Kallis and so many others should have made good captains. Yes, experience counts but great captains are born not made. Sachin now has 18 years experience,does that mean that now he will become a good captain? It is obvious that he never had the flair for captaincy and that will not come with experience.Dhoni in his brief stint has shown that flair.Kumble too lacks that flair and at best can be an average leader, someone like Dravid. The Indian cricket fan is still baffled why selectors didn't even consider the best man for the job, Ganguly, without doubt the best Captain India had till date.

  • POSTED BY shujahoda on | November 13, 2007, 11:42 GMT

    Inzi had a much better test record than a one-day record, while for shoaib malik its the other way round. Test cricket needs experience, one-day format requires the zest of youth. Apart from the Aussies, we'll perhaps see more of splitting of captaincies. A good decision by the Indian selectors, but perhaps for the wrong reasons.

  • POSTED BY Vijay-Chakravarthy on | November 13, 2007, 11:16 GMT

    Good decision from the selectors although it has come a bit late in Kumble's career,he may not have the luxury to nurture a successful combination and see them execute over the longer term.He has to get his plans and his men right from the first game.He sure will provide the right strategy to win test matches, can he motivate , lead and instill a culture of non-nonsense competition that he is so known for-we'll see very soon.

  • POSTED BY Cocoa on | November 13, 2007, 11:09 GMT

    I totally agree that this is the best decission by the Indian selectors as Kumble more than deserves a shot at captaincy given his experience. I agree that it is a must for the captain to have seen and been in all situations. I for one am a strong supporter of experience in general and Kumble in particular.

  • POSTED BY Unitedteam on | November 13, 2007, 9:54 GMT

    Tim!

    Please note the typical Aussie stingy tinge in Ian Chappel's observation in his Cricinfo's column: "Kumble could be seen as a possible sacrificial lamb being sent to the slaughter in order to preserve Dhoni for the future."

    I beg to disagree with Ian on this because Kumble at this moment is bestowed with a batting line up that has Sachin, Saurav, Dravid, Laxman, Yuvi and Dhoni with the reserve benches being occupied by Gambhir and Uthappa. India's pace department is looking really refreshing with Zaheer,RP Singh, Irfan Pathan and Sreesanth. Kumble and Harbhajan are proven performers. Not even Ian can question the committment of Kumble as you rightly observed. The advantage for Kumble could be he is unlikely to be burdened with expectations. The onus is on the so called reputed members to perform. I am in sync with you that of all the jobs in a cricket team, the captain's is the one to which a few wrinkles are most conducive. The JUMBO has many such wrinkles.

  • POSTED BY smudgedog on | November 13, 2007, 9:15 GMT

    I am a Saffa supporter and while I am not his biggest fan, I consider Graeme Smith to be one of the best captains in the history of SA cricket - and he was 22 when he took on the role!

  • POSTED BY Abhimanyu_Dasgupta on | November 13, 2007, 6:35 GMT

    Tim, I'm assuming that being a non-Indian, it must have been pretty difficult for you to understand the reasoning behind not appointing Kumble captain of the side a lot earlier. Because apart from being a match winner in tests and ODI's for a decade and a half, Kumble's one player who never falls an inch short on commitment and aggression on field. There's hardly any player in the world who'll not swear by Kumble's gentlemanly behaviour. The same players would also tell you that Kumble's the last man they want bowling at them because he never gives up trying hard. I'm not S.Waugh's biggest fan, but this is one comment from him that stands true universally.

    As to why he was never captain - Perhaps we've never looked beyond a batsman or an allrounder as captain(as have most other nations..the best bowling captains were decent batsmen too, and Kumble's been there abouts), perhaps it was because Ganguly was a little too succesful..or perhaps Kumble did not do enough advertisements!

  • POSTED BY VINCYCARDOZ on | November 13, 2007, 5:39 GMT

    Kumble has something different from all captains there could have ever been , right fully said a full 10 in an innings and test hundred. I remember Kumble get Brian LARA out with a broken jaw. How many previous Indian cricketers have shown that courage. Even the great Sachin had succumbed to his back spams in a crucial test against Pakistan, which was lost eventually very narrowly. Kumble has been the silent winner ever since his debut where he weeped cause the incomparable Kapil Dev then scolded him for spilling a catch. And look at his record now, He has made himself and India Proud.When people say against Kumble about his cricket ..even some of the experts...then I am sure.. they dont know their cricket they just read cricket headlines for their chat and comments. Look ahead the long awaited Kumble era has begun.

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  • POSTED BY VINCYCARDOZ on | November 13, 2007, 5:39 GMT

    Kumble has something different from all captains there could have ever been , right fully said a full 10 in an innings and test hundred. I remember Kumble get Brian LARA out with a broken jaw. How many previous Indian cricketers have shown that courage. Even the great Sachin had succumbed to his back spams in a crucial test against Pakistan, which was lost eventually very narrowly. Kumble has been the silent winner ever since his debut where he weeped cause the incomparable Kapil Dev then scolded him for spilling a catch. And look at his record now, He has made himself and India Proud.When people say against Kumble about his cricket ..even some of the experts...then I am sure.. they dont know their cricket they just read cricket headlines for their chat and comments. Look ahead the long awaited Kumble era has begun.

  • POSTED BY Abhimanyu_Dasgupta on | November 13, 2007, 6:35 GMT

    Tim, I'm assuming that being a non-Indian, it must have been pretty difficult for you to understand the reasoning behind not appointing Kumble captain of the side a lot earlier. Because apart from being a match winner in tests and ODI's for a decade and a half, Kumble's one player who never falls an inch short on commitment and aggression on field. There's hardly any player in the world who'll not swear by Kumble's gentlemanly behaviour. The same players would also tell you that Kumble's the last man they want bowling at them because he never gives up trying hard. I'm not S.Waugh's biggest fan, but this is one comment from him that stands true universally.

    As to why he was never captain - Perhaps we've never looked beyond a batsman or an allrounder as captain(as have most other nations..the best bowling captains were decent batsmen too, and Kumble's been there abouts), perhaps it was because Ganguly was a little too succesful..or perhaps Kumble did not do enough advertisements!

  • POSTED BY smudgedog on | November 13, 2007, 9:15 GMT

    I am a Saffa supporter and while I am not his biggest fan, I consider Graeme Smith to be one of the best captains in the history of SA cricket - and he was 22 when he took on the role!

  • POSTED BY Unitedteam on | November 13, 2007, 9:54 GMT

    Tim!

    Please note the typical Aussie stingy tinge in Ian Chappel's observation in his Cricinfo's column: "Kumble could be seen as a possible sacrificial lamb being sent to the slaughter in order to preserve Dhoni for the future."

    I beg to disagree with Ian on this because Kumble at this moment is bestowed with a batting line up that has Sachin, Saurav, Dravid, Laxman, Yuvi and Dhoni with the reserve benches being occupied by Gambhir and Uthappa. India's pace department is looking really refreshing with Zaheer,RP Singh, Irfan Pathan and Sreesanth. Kumble and Harbhajan are proven performers. Not even Ian can question the committment of Kumble as you rightly observed. The advantage for Kumble could be he is unlikely to be burdened with expectations. The onus is on the so called reputed members to perform. I am in sync with you that of all the jobs in a cricket team, the captain's is the one to which a few wrinkles are most conducive. The JUMBO has many such wrinkles.

  • POSTED BY Cocoa on | November 13, 2007, 11:09 GMT

    I totally agree that this is the best decission by the Indian selectors as Kumble more than deserves a shot at captaincy given his experience. I agree that it is a must for the captain to have seen and been in all situations. I for one am a strong supporter of experience in general and Kumble in particular.

  • POSTED BY Vijay-Chakravarthy on | November 13, 2007, 11:16 GMT

    Good decision from the selectors although it has come a bit late in Kumble's career,he may not have the luxury to nurture a successful combination and see them execute over the longer term.He has to get his plans and his men right from the first game.He sure will provide the right strategy to win test matches, can he motivate , lead and instill a culture of non-nonsense competition that he is so known for-we'll see very soon.

  • POSTED BY shujahoda on | November 13, 2007, 11:42 GMT

    Inzi had a much better test record than a one-day record, while for shoaib malik its the other way round. Test cricket needs experience, one-day format requires the zest of youth. Apart from the Aussies, we'll perhaps see more of splitting of captaincies. A good decision by the Indian selectors, but perhaps for the wrong reasons.

  • POSTED BY Azfar on | November 13, 2007, 12:15 GMT

    Good to read the views of a neutral observer like Tim De Lisle on Kumble's elevation.But the question remains that does lot of experience and seeing it all makes good captains. If that was the case then Sir Richard Hadlee, Courtney Walsh, Muralidharan, Kallis and so many others should have made good captains. Yes, experience counts but great captains are born not made. Sachin now has 18 years experience,does that mean that now he will become a good captain? It is obvious that he never had the flair for captaincy and that will not come with experience.Dhoni in his brief stint has shown that flair.Kumble too lacks that flair and at best can be an average leader, someone like Dravid. The Indian cricket fan is still baffled why selectors didn't even consider the best man for the job, Ganguly, without doubt the best Captain India had till date.

  • POSTED BY squarecutter on | November 13, 2007, 12:35 GMT

    This is a great decision by the indian selectors, I think Anil Kumble has waited for his time with patience, has experienced all the highs and lows of test cricket and has shown the appropriate skills and experience needed. With his test century, perfect ten (except Afridi didnt edge it) and over 500 test wickets he has done it all and now its his time to show the world how to captain India the right way.

  • POSTED BY frozeninusa on | November 13, 2007, 13:22 GMT

    Kumble's test record outside India is mediocre. His bowling averages in countries like Australia, England, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and New Zealand is over 40. Some of these places may not be spinner friendly perticulerly for his style, but the point is that Kumble at his age is not a certainty to walk into the team under any situation. That combined with the fact that Dhoni has done an excellent job as a captain not only by winning the world cup but also getting the respect of seniors and juniors alike, you have to say that the selectors have made a bad call. The Pakistan series was a perfect chance to make Dhoni captain and prepare him for the Australia series.