Harbhajan backs Kumble in stint with national team

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London, May 31 (IANS) Veteran off-spinner Harbhajan Singh on Wednesday backed his former teammate and current India coach Anil Kumble, whose relations with captain Virat Kohli have reportedly hit a rough patch apparently due to the coach’s overbearing attitude.

The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) last week invited applications for a new head coach as incumbent Kumble’s one-year term comes to an end at the end of the ICC Champions Trophy in June.

The latest move by the national cricket board has also fuelled speculation that the players are unhappy with the coach’s style of functioning. But Harbhajan stood firmly behind his former captain and believes Indian cricket needs the legendary leg-spinner’s services.

“Anil Kumble is strict, you can always talk to him about cricket. He’s very hard working and believes that one shouldn’t leave the match till the last ball. He’s strict but he responds to hard work more than just talent. As a coach, I am sure he’s going to bring a lot of good to Indian cricket. One can also see his results of last year,” Harbhajan said at the Aaj Tak Salaam Cricket 2017 conclave here.

“Only present players will be able to tell what his relations with Anil bhai are. In my 15 years of playing with him, there has been no instance of any fight with him and he’s the best bowling mind in cricket, he’s always there to help. He’s been brilliant and he has played a major role in making me what I am today and I would like to thank him for that.”

The 36-year-old Punjab tweaker added that he wasn’t privy to the affairs of the dressing room since he was out of the national side for quite sometime now.

“I am not a part of this team so I don’t know how Anil Bhai is running the team and I don’t talk to players about what is going on and all. If someone has issues with Kumble, he should go and talk to him because he’s a person of respect and as per my experience, he can’t have issues with anyone.”

“Conversation is the key to solving the issue, if there’s any. He’s someone who’s at the top and there’s no one who can fill his shoes easily,” the off-spinner said.

–IANS

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