Former India legspinner Anil Kumble is confident that young cricketers across India are still keen on playing and doing well in Test cricket despite the growing advent of T20. Questions have been asked of Test cricket and whether the format still draws the kind of attention it used to. Variations such as Day/Night Tests have been made to the format along with proposals to trim them down to four days.
But despite the suggestions, many players have spoken against the trimming down of the format, which has convinced Kumble, member of the ICC cricket committee, that the popularity of Test cricket is pretty much intact.
“I think everybody wants to play Test cricket, that’s very clear. The generation of cricketers certainly want five-day cricket and that’s something very obvious,” Kumble, who is the fourth-leading wicket-taker in Tests, said. “There is some challenge in keeping everyone focused and pushed towards playing domestic competition especially Ranji Trophy.”
Too much cricket has led many associations and cricketers to omit certain format’s’ and play the rest. The concept of workload management allows players to be rested to give body time to heal. Yet, most of such exclusions are restricted to either ODIs, or T20Is, which as per Kumble, is an indication that Test cricket is still a priority for many leading cricketers, which acts as a good benchmark for the generations to follow.
“Very few players are common to formats and it’s getting lesser and lesser. But I don’t think there is any dearth of people wanting to play the longer format. I think everybody wants to, they realize that’s the biggest challenge and I’m sure that’s going to be the case for a long time,” Kumble added.
Kumble, a veteran of 132 Tests and 271 ODIs has a handful experience of coaching. Besides being the head coach of the Indian cricket team between 2016 and 2017, Kumble has also served mentor of IPL franchises Royal Challengers Bangalore and Mumbai Indians. This season, he will be coaching the Kings XI Punjab, whose squad comprises many youngsters, and who better than the former India captain to lead them down the right path?
“You just need to be at it. There are a lot more opportunities for you to come back so that’s the one thing that is an advantage. To not look for anyone else to chart their careers out for them,” said Kumble.
“One thing I would tell any youngster is don’t look at somebody… Selectors are there to actually drop you, not pick you. Because you pick yourself. At the end of it, your performances count and then you certainly pick yourself. The selector or whoever is picking you is there to drop you not really to pick you… that I think one must be aware of.”