Kumble to continue as captain beyond South Africa series

March 15th, 2008 - 11:33 pm ICT by admin  

A file-photo of Harbhajan Singh

New Delhi, March 15 (IANS) Anil Kumble in all likelihood will continue to captain India in Tests beyond the upcoming home series against South Africa, and the away series against Sri Lanka later in the year. Chairman of selectors Dilip Vengsarkar, at least, has no doubt that Kumble will continue in office for the next two series and Indian cricket board sources confirmed this. The board is going to felicitate Kumble before the first Test against South Africa in Chennai March 26 for crossing the 600-wicket mark in Tests during the tour of Australia.

Kumble, who was appointed captain for the home series against Pakistan late last year, created a tremendous impact as leader by winning the series and was retained for the four-Test series down under.

Kumble’s leadership came in for praise, particularly the way he handled the racism charge involving Harbhajan Singh and Andrew Symonds and rallied the team to win the Perth Test. Though India lost the series 1-2, the scoreline could easily have been the other way around but for some terrible umpiring mistakes, particularly in the second Test in Sydney.

Former Australia vice-captain Adam Gilchrist, on a visit to Delhi this week, also lauded Kumble’s leadership qualities and agreed with the Indian captain’s credo that their game should talk more than the players.

Kumble’s credentials as a great player were never in doubt and his stature has gone up ever since he scored his maiden Test hundred in England last summer. With 604 wickets from 125 Tests, he is the third highest wicket-taker in Tests behind Sri Lankan Muttiah Muralitharan and Australian Shane Warne.

Kumble and coach Gary Kirsten will attend the selection committee meeting Tuesday in Bangalore to select the team for the first two Tests in Chennai and Ahmedabad.

Kumble and Kirsten have already met in Mumbai and chalked out their plan for the series in consultation with the board officials.

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