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Better late than never: Kumble

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Late turn: New Test skipper Anil Kumble, and his wife Chetana, at their residence in Bangalore on Friday.
Late turn: New Test skipper Anil Kumble, and his wife Chetana, at their residence in Bangalore on Friday.

Special Correspondent

“I am sure I will get all the support from all my teammates”

CHENNAI: The appointment of Anil Kumble as India’s Test captain, announced late on Thursday in Mohali, has brought the champion leg-spinner long-deserved recognition in the twilight of his career.

“I had to wait for a long time, but I think it’s better late than never,” said Kumble, who will succeed Rahul Dravid in India’s top cricket job. “It’s good to be shown faith and given the responsibility. I am sure I will get all the support from all my teammates.”

Kumble, perceived as the outsider in a two-horse race with one-day captain M.S. Dhoni, will assume responsibility in the home Test series against Pakistan, starting on November 22.

On the 37-year-old’s capable shoulders falls the responsibility of guiding India through a period of change. “I hope to help the team achieve a smooth transition so that the younger lot can go ahead and move forward,” Kumble told Reuters on Friday. “I’ll try and do whatever best I can for the team so that we get a lot more consistent.”

Kumble’s glittering record – he is Test cricket’s third-highest wicket-taker with 566 wickets in 118 Tests – and physical courage – evident when he bowled with a shattered jaw in Antigua in 2002 – have earned him the team’s respect, critical for any captain.

True to his reputation for fairness, Kumble had kind words for Dhoni. “The team has done exceptionally well under him (Dhoni). The younger lot seem to enjoy each other’s company. He’s a mature person and has all the qualities (of a captain), that’s for sure.”

This is Kumble’s first stint as Test captain.

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