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Anil Kumble has to prevent firm favourites India from getting carried away in West Indies

Anil Kumble has to prevent firm favourites India from getting carried away in West Indies

In the last few days of the India cricket team’s camp in Bengaluru, the dominant topic was aggression, ‘buddies’, natural instinct, hope, consistency and victories. There was also some drumming up of camaraderie and bonding. Now, on the eve of the team’s departure for the challenging tour of West Indies, the time for talk is over. In the next few weeks India’s new head coach, Anil Kumble and energetic skipper Virat Kohli must walk the talk as they undertake a rather strange and peculiar sojourn to those famed ‘islands in the sun’.

Many of their best cricketers are no longer interested in playing Test cricket. However their popularity among the followers of the T20 format is stupendous. The fact that the West Indies are the T20 world champions and that these cricketers play an exciting brand of the game has attracted all but the die-hard Test cricket aficionado to the thrill-a-ball wares of the CPL.

Under these circumstances coach Kumble and skipper Kohli should have it easy to notch up an a rare overseas wins.

But the challenge, for Kumble in particular, would be to ensure that the team stays in the present almost always, and takes the tour matches one session at a time. In the past Indian teams have played wonderful Test cricket, yet have ended up on the losing side owing to one bad session or two. The experienced Kumble would do well to ensure that the current team too does not fall into familiar traps against even a weakened West Indies team.

More than the action on the field, it is the trappings off it that make the Caribbean islands such a dangerous distraction for most teams. Every-day life is a non-stop party in many of these islands where sugar, alcohol, tourism, entertainment and off-shore banking have kept their economies in a relatively robust state.

It would be so easy to lose focus amidst the endless celebration and hence Kumble would have his hands full in keeping the team in the straight and narrow ways of Test cricket.

Some distraction can also be expected due to the presence of familiar faces from the IPL, who’d be in the thick of things at the simultaneously-conducted CPL. As it is, Shah Rukh Khan (Tringabo Knight Riders) and Vijay Mallya and possibly Reliance (Barbados Tridents) own CPL franchises while Hero Moto Corp are the title sponsors. Additionally, Robin Singh is the coach of Barbados Tridents. Hence there would be plenty of familiar personnel around. Staying focused on the Test tour would be a challenge for youngsters, but not for the more professional and seasoned stars like Kohli.

These factors apart, India are such overwhelming favorites that it would be difficult not to get carried away by expectations against a relatively lightweight West Indies side. Kumble would be very well aware that West Indies are capable of sudden spurts of individual brilliance and flair and these carry the potential to cause damage. Thus the onus would be on staying in the present and taking the Tests one session at a time.

Source : FirstPost.com

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