India coach Anil Kumble today said there was no need for his team to curb its aggression despite the din over on-field behaviour in what is turning out to be an intensely-fought Test series against Australia.
“I don’t want to curb any natural instinct of the players as long as they go out there and do what is expected of them. I don’t think we need to read too much into the aggression. Every player has his own way of having a game face,” Kumble said ahead of the third Test.
The big-ticket series is poised at 1-1, with everything to play for in the remaining two matches.
On aggression, Kumble added, “And that’s what you want. You want everyone to go out there and show what they are capable of. This is a very important series. It’s 1-1. Both teams will come hard in this game. I’m sure cricket will be the winner.”
The DRS controversy surrounding Steve Smith’s dismissal threatened to overshadow India’s fightback, eventually prompting BCCI and Cricket Australia to issue a joint statement to bring the matter to an end.
“As custodians of this great game, we believe it’s important that we look after the game. Key stakeholders are the players and they certainly understand their responsibility,” the former India captain told reporters.
Kumble lauded the BCCI for taking a “matured call” and bring the focus back to cricket.
“I think what was important was to focus back on the game. I am very glad the BCCI took a very matured call with Cricket Australia and issued a joint statement that cricket needs to move on and moved out from whatever happened in Bangalore.
“That I think is important because focus has to be on the game. I thought we made a really fantastic comeback after losing the first Test. It was very rewarding,” he said.
Asked if Smith and Virat Kohli would meet before the town’s maiden Test, Kumble responded in positive.
“Yes they will meet.”
Kumble said the team was not affected by the talks around DRS and pitches used in the two Test.
“It doesn’t affect our game. We only want to play. We are not doing the talking but you are. We are just playing and thinking about the game on the field,” the coach said.
Going back to the second Test, Kumble said the host nation showed character.
“I think Day 2 (of Bangalore Test) was fantastic. There was attrition. Only 190 runs were scored and six wickets were taken but the intensity and control with which our bowlers bowled, especially the pacers, showed character. That’s what you want to see in a team — a lot of character and pride in doing things and coming back and winning a Test match.
“What stood out for me was KL Rahul’s batting in both innings in Bangalore and the partnership between Cheteshwar Pujara and Ajinkya Rahane. If you look at the series so far we haven’t had a wicket-less session. But we scored more than 90 runs in that session without losing a wicket. That was a defining moment.”
The spin legend patted his boys and said they responded well since he took over the reins.
“It’s good we are playing so well consistently. From the West Indies series there have been many milestones. We have won all series. Virat Kohli has hit four double hundreds, (Ravichandran) Ashwin is the fastest to reach to 250 wickets.
“The boys responded well. Not easy to play such a long season. (Mohammed) Shami is injured. We have had some injuries. If you are performing at home it helps. It’s not as if one individual has played. We would want to finish last two Tests in a good way. We hope for a result.”
Kumble showered praise on Umesh Yadav, saying the right-arm pacer always looks to pick up a five-wicket haul.
“The way Umesh has bowled, given breakthroughs, credit to him for the maturity he’s shown. Every time he bowled he looked like getting a fifer. Happy for Ashwin but also glad how (Ravindra) Jadeja came up the rankings.”
The historic Test is to be played in Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s home ground and when asked about the former captain, Kumble said, “Without MS it might look different. I know he is playing for Jharkhand but I hope he can make it some day. I hope Ranchi people come to support us in what is a historic moment.”