Basseterre (St Kitts): Former West Indies captain Courtney Walsh hailed the BCCI decision of appointing Anil Kumble as the chief coach terming the leg-spinner as someone who has "his heart in right place".
"I think it is a very good move. He is a very well respected person, and someone who is involved with the ICC as well," Walsh, who has 519 Test and 227 ODI wickets said.
Walsh, who is also a national selector, was present in St Kitts to watch the warm-up games and was seen enjoying dinner with the Indian coach.
"He (Kumble) has always wanted to contribute and give something back to cricket and his heart is in the right place.
I am sure he will do everything in his power to ensure that Indian cricket stays at the top or even gets better," said Walsh.
"At the same time, I think he will help build the game further, and to me that is the bigger picture. Sure he wants the Indian team to be number one, but he will not look after them alone. He is someone who wants to sort out Test cricket and the health of international cricket is at the top of his list as well. Having someone like him giving an input at the international level will be great," he added.
What makes Kumble special according to Walsh, is his ability to command respect.
"They will have immense respect for him because they will have seen him play all those years. Plus, Kumble has been involved with cricket quite a lot since he stopped playing and he knows the ins and outs of the current-day game.
"His passion is second to none, and it reflects in the way they are led by captain Virat Kohli. I like to read body language and you can tell they want to play good cricket, and that this series will be a good one," said the West Indies selector.
Talking about the prospective relationship between captain and coach, Walsh said,"Well, I think Kumble will succeed in keeping him calm. But at the same time, I don't think Kohli is a player who wants to go out there and not express himself.
"He leaves everything on the field and as a leader is passionate about the game and his performances. Kohli is like Kumble in that respect, and as coach, he will be able to guide and help him to achieve success."
Walsh rated Virat Kohli as one of the top three batsman in world cricket.
"I do believe that Virat Kohli is one of the top three batsmen in the world. They also have other exciting batting talents, Murali Vijay, Ajinkya Rahane, Cheteshwar Pujara and Rohit Sharma. All of them will be looking to make a mark in this series. I am excited to see them play here, but at the same time, I also don't want them to get too many runs against my team," he added, with a smile.
The former pacer was the first one to go past Kapil Dev s world record Test tally of 434 wickets, setting the mark for others at 519 Test wickets. A majority of his wickets came in the Caribbean of course, on pitches that were once fiery in nature, but has slowed down considerably since.
"I am certain they are hoping to make better pitches for the Test series. I am not holding a lot of hope though, because the wickets have definitely slowed down, perhaps a little too much. If we can somehow get more life in them, maybe leave a little more grass and get some good bounce, it would be reasonable," said the legendary bowler.
Walsh said that he can't recollect an Indian team coming with 3-4 genuine quick bowlers.
"And the Indian pacers will like bowling here. They have some pace. I don't remember seeing an Indian team that had 3-4 fast bowlers who could bowl at that pace, and this team has that. They are running in and looking purposeful. Ishant Sharma looks like the leader of the attack, in control, and he knows what he is doing. Beyond that, I have no clue which ones they will pick for the first Test, which in a way is a good thing for the team management," he added.
Last but not the least, this four-Test series will see a thaw in the frosty relationship between the BCCI and West Indies' cricket board, after the Dwayne Bravo-led team had abandoned the 2014 tour of India midway. The first Test begins in Antigua on July 21, bringing the two nations once again on a cricket ground in a bilateral series.
"I am happy things are back to normal, and it is good to have this series going. It is a great opportunity for the young West Indies team to play Tests again. They are just beginning to make a mark for themselves and they haven't played Test cricket since the Australian tour.
"An Indian team's tour in the Caribbean is something the public here always looks forward to, and the players as well.
They look eager to perform, and we are in for an interesting and intriguing Test summer."
Published Date: Jul 17, 2016 11:09 pm | Updated Date: Jul 17, 2016 11:09 pm