It is a delight for a coach when a blend of youth and experience works in tandem to create magic for the team and Anil Kumble isn’t complaining either.
He couldn’t have asked for more in the manner seasoned Ravichandran Ashwin and rookie Jayant Yadav combined to outwit the dogged defiance of a stodgy England line-up during the comprehensive victory in the second Test at Visakhapatnam.
While Ashwin is donning the role of an all-rounder batting at No 6, where he is making useful contributions on a regular basis, there are talks about his enormous workload as his phenomenal success in sub-continental conditions is known to one and all.
But Kumble insisted that Ashwin was not complaining.
“He (Ashwin) has done an exceptional job starting from West Indies. When Rohit (Sharma) played and we played only four bowlers and six batters, Ashwin batted at No 7. We need that fifth bowler to pick up 20 wickets. That’s why he is consistently batting at No 6.
“Workload is something that you keep talking about but if you ask Ashwin, he is certainly enjoying batting at No 6 and doing what he is good at — both with bat and ball,” the coach waxed eloquent about one of his two premier match-winners.
Young Jayant, who is slowly spreading his wings after being an understudy for nearly six months, has impressed the coach “with his maturity” and has shown that he can belong to this level.
Asked to comment on Jayant, Kumble gave his assessment of the youngster.
“Interactions that I have had, he (Jayant) comes across as a balanced individual. He had a dream (Test) debut. He contributed with bat and ball and a brilliant fielding effort in the first innings. Overall, you can’t ask for more. As a youngster coming into this team, he showed a lot of character, lot of maturity, although he was playing his first match.
“Jayant handled batting with the lower order, especially with (Mohammad) Shami (in the 2nd innings) getting those 30-40 runs. The way he bowled was quite impressive. It augurs well for Indian cricket that someone who is just coming into the team has shown that kind of approach,” said Kumble.
On the Mohali track, which has been aiding spinners of late, Kumble said he was not worried about the conditions.
“Certainly gone a lot slower than what it used to be in the 90s. Having said that, I am certainly not someone who gives too much importance to the conditions.
“We need to play good cricket. I certainly believe we played good cricket in Rajkot and Vizag. That’s why we are 1-0 ahead in series and we have to repeat that in Mohali, no matter what the conditions are. Like I said over the years, it has certainly gone slower, not necessarily what it used to be in the 90s.”
Like skipper Virat Kohli stated after the second Test, Kumble also felt that the defensive mindset of the English batsmen only helped the Indian team.
“Their approach when we realised that they were not going for runs and looking to survive, it becomes lot easier as a bowling unit, the time to take 10 wickets may be slightly longer. There was no frustration. There was always belief, definitely in the ability of our bowling attack.
“Obviously, in the first 50 overs, we didn’t get wickets and in the next 50 overs, we got all 10. So it was just a matter of time when you play like that. Our attack was pretty relentless from everyone without an exception,” he concluded.