Anil Kumble, the head coach of India, said the players are focused on making the necessary adjustments to switch from playing Test cricket to the shortest format of the game. Speaking at a media briefing held before the two-match Twenty20 International (T20I) series against West Indies scheduled to take place on August 27 and 28, Kumble also conceded that it would be a tough task to topple the reigning World T20 champions, West Indies, in the T20I format.
“It is a mindset change and not easy to switch your focus from playing a Test series and coming into a T20 mode,” Kumble said at the Central Broward Regional Park Stadium Turf Ground in Florida on Thursday (August 25). “Both bowlers and batsmen need to make adjustments. It is not easy, but all of us are professionals and they have played enough T20 cricket to adjust. It is more in the mind.”
Kumble also pointed out that the Indian team has put up noteworthy performances in the last six months in the T20 version of the game, and they would look to continue the winning momentum. India are presently ranked No. 2 in the International Cricket Council’s (ICC) T20I rankings, four points adrift of New Zealand. However, Kumble stated that the main priority is to play good cricket and not to think about the rankings.
“Well, not really. The rankings are on everyone’s mind and we keep hearing about it where you’re in terms of standings. But the critical point is you (have to) play some good cricket. Yes, the Test series victory was very good. Even if you look at India’s T20 record over the past six months, it has been pretty impressive, and that is something we would like to take forward in these games as well.”
Kumble lauded the local administration for providing excellent facilities for the series and hoped that the series will kick start a new beginning for cricket in the United States of America. “Well, certainly didn’t expect the facilities to be as good as what it is here (in Florida). I had heard about Florida and this ground, but (I’m) very impressed with the facilities that we have seen today. It is the first time I am seeing this ground and the wickets are good, ideal probably for a T20. The practice facilities, too, are good and the outfield is fantastic. All in all, really impressed with the way facilities are here.
“At least a start has been made. India is looking forward to next couple of days over the weekend. I’m sure the ground will be packed. From an Indian perspective, we are looking forward to these T20 games against the West Indies. It is a wonderful initiative to play in the USA and it is going to be a sell-out. We know that expats and the huge Indian diaspora want quality cricket to come to the USA. When we have played in the West Indies in the past, a lot of them have come over from USA to watch us play. This is a start of a new beginning. Like I mentioned, the facilities are fantastic and the players will love the coming week,” he stated.
Kumble acknowledged that West Indies have a quality side on paper and will be tough to beat. He also pointed out that most of West Indies’ key players were a part of the Caribbean Premier League (CPL), and they wouldn’t be short of match fitness.
“West Indies are always a tough side and they are the World T20 champions. Also, some of the West Indian players needn’t have to make the switch from Tests to T20s as they are coming straight out of the CPL. They are a quality side, and we had a tough match against them in the semifinal of the World T20. So, we are going to encounter a quality side and we are aware of that. It is going to be a challenge,” he noted.
The former legspinner said his journey as the coach of the Indian team has started on the right note and it has been a wonderful experience so far. He also added that he was looking forward to again working with MS Dhoni.
“It was very welcoming. In my first press conference itself at my home town I mentioned that I was welcomed by the team. It has been really wonderful. Of course, the start always makes it sweeter, when you have success. I can’t ask for a better set of players in terms of what I want from them. They are extremely committed and very disciplined.
“This is the first time I will be working with Dhoni. We have played together over a long period of time and we had a chat yesterday and today as well. I’m really looking forward to working with him, and the new set of boys who have joined the team, including (Jasprit) Bumrah. It is nice to be a part of the Indian dressing room again,” Kumble summed up.