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Every individual has stood up, captain has led from the front: Kumble

kumble-pti-7591Two days before the start of the second India-Australia Test in Bangalore, Anil Kumble had walked in a displeased, if not angry, man. India had just been walloped by 333 runs in Pune, their first home defeat since 2012, on a pitch where everyone expected the home team to roll over Australia. In Bangalore, Kumble shot back to what was the fourth question about the pitch, with ‘it’s only 22 yards, let’s move on,’ and his displeasure at the questions and possibly the team’s performance was clear. He brushed away notions that India had to hit the panic button by saying it was just a game when there was a rare complete failure from the team. The team went on to prove his point by winning one of the most keenly contested Tests in recent times. In Ranchi, two days before the start of the third Test, Kumble appeared a more calm and composed person. He was generous with a smile and as generous with friendly retorts to questions about his future role in the Indian dressing room and the fact that the two Tests didn’t last the distance. Much of the talk between the Bengaluru and Ranchi Tests have been about Steve Smith’s reviewgate and Virat Kohli’s responses to the same. Speaking about what had transpired, Kumble was happy the the matter was nipped in the bud by both the boards and that the focus shifted back to cricket. “I think what was important was to bring the focus back on cricket and I am really glad that the BCCI took a mature call along with Cricket Australia to issue a joint statement that cricket needs to move on and we have moved on from whatever happened in that background. That’s really important because focus obviously has to be on the game, and I think we made a fantastic comeback in the second Test after losing the first Test; especially day two and day three (of the second Test), they were ahead and to comeback from there and win a Test match was rewarding.” India have had a superb run in Tests, with the rare blip in Pune. Since the start of the season, they have started as favourites in every game and have invariably come out victors. Much of that has been thanks to team efforts. If Virat Kohli has stood tall with four double hundreds in as many series, the likes of Cheteshwar Pujara, Murali Vijay, Ajinkya Rahane and KL Rahul have done well too. R Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja were expected to be the trump cards, but the emergence of Jayant Yadav as the third spinner, and the consistent performances from their pacers have been a great highlight, too. “This is a very good thing that there have been continuously good performances. Sitting outside, it is a matter of great delight that as I said, if you start with the West Indies series, there have been plenty of milestones for the Indian team. We have won all the Test series and we have had several great individual performances.

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