Anil Kumble says it was hard to see Rahul Dravid end career on losing note

Rahul Dravid led Rajasthan Royals to the final of the CLT20 2013, where they lost to Mumbai Indians © PTI

Oct 8, 2013

Mumbai Indians’ chief mentor Anil Kumble said that it was hard for him to see his former teammate and Rajasthan Royals’ skipper Rahul Dravid end his cricketing career on a losing note. Mumbai defeated Rajasthan in the Champions League Twenty20 (CLT20) 2013 final.

Speaking to CLT20’s official website, Kumble said, “It is hard to see someone who I played with go out like this from the game. Rahul has been exceptional in the way he has played his cricket and hats off to him for making Rajasthan Royals succeed the way they have. It was a tough challenge for us, but I am happy that we were able to overcome that.”

Kumble also praised Rajasthan’s leg-spinner Pravin Tambe, stating that the bowler has proved people, who think T20 is for young cricketers, wrong.

“This is a sort of format where if you are smart, confident, have a calm mind and the necessary skills, you can play irrespective of what your age is. He has proved those wrong who feel that in this tournament you need to be young. As a bowler it is extremely important that you show a calm and cool attitude when someone is going after you. In that way he has been exceptional.”

Speaking about Sachin Tendulkar, Kumble said that he has never seen the batting legend not wanting to play anymore.

“I don’t think I have ever seen that. It is great that someone like him after 24 years still has the same kind of enthusiasm, whether it is net practice or a match. It’s unbelievable.”

Kumble went on to praise Rajasthan’s fighting spirit and praised the way Sanju Samson and Ajinkya Rahane set the mood for Royals.

“They batted brilliantly. They played fantastic cricket. The way Sanju Samson and Ajinkya Rahane started it off, it was a tough ask. This is a wicket where if you get going, it is not easy for the bowlers to contain. Hats off to them, they won all their home games,” Kumble said.

Kumble returned to Feroz Shah Kotla on Sunday night, extending his special relationship with the ground to a new level. It is the same place where Kumble has had many special outings — his 10-wicket haul against Pakistan in 1999, and playing his final international match for India in 2008. On Sunday, as the chief mentor of Mumbai Indians, Kumble lifted the CLT20 2013 trophy against Rajasthan Royals.

“The last three games here have been fantastic .The boys have played brilliantly to see us through again. Beating Perth Scorchers like that was not an easy task, especially on a Kotla pitch, which hosted its first game of the season. To do what they have done is exceptional. I think Rohit Sharma has led from the front and everybody contributed. The way Glenn Maxwell played and Harbhajan Singh bowled to get us through, was brilliant,” Kumble said.

The 42-year-old is India’s highest wicket-taker in Test. As the mentor of Mumbai, it was hard for Kumble to see the team lose in the first match and the next match getting washed out.

“It was hard because everybody was looking forward to playing. In Ahmedabad, we just sat around watching the rain, which was not an easy task. We spoke to the organisers and they agreed to our request to shift our next game [to Jaipur] because there was no chance of playing. It was nice that we could go to Jaipur, win the game and put ourselves on the points table. From there, getting to Delhi two games prior to the final helped us in knowing the conditions.”

Kumble said that the job of Mumbai Indians’ support staff was to ensure the cricketers were in comfortable and right frame of mind.
“I think the credit should go to the boys. Our job is to only ensure that they are absolutely comfortable and in the right space as far as their mental space is concerned. Yes, it is not an easy task when you have to leave out someone like a Mitchell Johnson for the final and/or to leave out Glenn Maxwell in the semi-final.

“So, you have to make those tough choices; it was hard to do all those things, in a short format. But kudos to John Wright and the rest of the support staff who have been exceptional. I think winning the IPL certainly gave us the boost and the confidence that come final, we’ll be in a better space,” he concluded.