"A lot of the discussions about technique are overrated. You want in Test cricket, people with character, people who take up the challenge," said Anil Kumble in an interview with CricketNext when asked whether Rohit Sharma will be able to adapt as an opener in Tests played overseas. While Rohit Sharma's twin centuries in both innings of the first Test against South Africa have solidified the faith that the team management placed in him, doubts remain over whether he'll be an apt choice for an opener in overseas conditions, against the moving ball.
However, for Kumble, those fears are unwarranted. "I think the most important aspect in Test cricket is your attitude, and that’s something that we’ve seen Rohit have in plenty. So, I don’t see him worrying too much about what’s going to happen when India travel to South Africa, Australia or England. I think he’ll be able to manage those at that point."
In Test cricket, emphatic victories in familiar conditions at home are often undermined by experts for they believe that the real challenge lies in winning away from home, beating the likes of England, Australia and South Africa in their own backyard, something India has often struggled to achieve.
However, Anil Kumble believes that the differentiation between playing at home and away is unfair on players and that every Test victory is equally important. "For me, as a player, you need to look at a Test match as a Test match, irrespective of where you’re playing, you still have to win consistently in those situations and those moments in a match. You have to identify the key moment and winning those moments will matter in every Test match."
The prelude to the ongoing Test series against South Africa was dominated by talks of whether Ravichandran Ashwin would make it to the playing eleven for the first Test. He didn't make it to the side on the West Indies tour. However, the off-spinner proved his worth in the Test side with his seven-wicket haul in the first innings in the Vizag Test. For Kumble, the entire talk surrounding Ashwin's place in the side is a sad state of affairs and there is no doubt that he is India's premier spinner.
"You don’t want your premier spinner to be discussed before a Test series or a Test match, thinking about whether he’ll make it to the team. I think it’s sad but he’s showed his class. I think Ashwin, not just as a bowler but as an all-rounder, is an asset to the team. He and Ravindra Jadeja will give you enough armoury with the spin and can also give you solid batting performances consistently, and they’ve done that in the lower-middle order for India.
"So, I don’t see a reason why anyone needs to go beyond these two spinners unless there’s something else that you want to look for, or if one of them is not fully fit. If you’re considering a third spinner, then yes, Kuldeep Yadav is, of course, a genuine spinner, and you’d want a wrist spinner to be in your team. But having said that, Ashwin is your premier spinner and I’m certainly happy with what he’s done because you can’t stop people from discussing. But, now hopefully he would have shut them up. He’s a class act."
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