T20 World Cup: Anil Kumble thinks separate teams in red-ball, white-ball cricket is the way forward

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New Delhi– Former India captain and head coach Anil Kumble thinks that fielding separate teams in red-ball and white-ball cricket is the way forward for all the teams in international cricket.

England’s tremendous success in white-ball cricket and leading them to being 2019 ODI World Cup winners as well as champions of 2022 T20 World Cup has reignited the debate for teams having different teams for red-ball and white-ball cricket matches.

“Definitely, you need separate teams. You need, certainly, T20 specialists. I think what this English team has shown and even the last (T20) World Cup champions Australia have shown is that you need to invest in a lot of all-rounders. Look at the batting order.”

“Today Liam Livingstone is batting at No. 7. No other team has a No. 7 of the quality of Livingstone. (Marcus) Stoinis walks in at No. 6 (for Australia). That’s the kind of team you have to build. That’s something that you need to invest in.”

“I’m not really sure whether you need a different captain or a different coach. It all depends on what team you are going to pick and then choose how you want to build the support and the leadership around it,” Kumble was quoted as saying by ESPNCricinfo.

In England, Brendon McCullum is the red-ball coach while Ben Stokes is the skipper. Coming to white-ball cricket, Matthew Mott is the head coach while Jos Buttler is the skipper. A change of approach meant the red-ball side had a wave of victories over New Zealand, India and South Africa in this year’s home summer.

The white-ball, who got Buttler as full-time skipper after Eoin Morgan’s international retirement, side lost three bilateral series to India and the Proteas, drawing an ODI series with South Africa, before winning an away T20I series in Pakistan and going all the way to the T20 World Cup trophy in Australia.

Asked if England’s approach of split-captaincy and coaching could work in India, Kumble remarked, “No, I think it’s important that you need all the stakeholders to be sitting in a room and then getting to understand that at the end of it, it’s the players. It’s the players who are going to win the game.”

“You need to identify what kind of cricket you want to play and who are the guys you’re going to It’s not like you already have them. You’ll have to still develop a few players if you want to create that kind of brand and sustain it.”

“It’s not just about one match, it’s not just about one tournament. It’s about sustaining that kind of momentum as you go along. You may lose a few (games), but you should be willing to be able to accept that kind of brand and go along with it. So it’s the players first.”

Kumble further elaborated that once the management and players are on the same page in splitting work across formats, the planning phase of building squads becomes critical. “Yes, it requires a buy-in from the management, and if it means you need separate personnel to handle all of that, so be it. What is critical is identifying the players you want to pursue with, the young players you want to develop, and how you are going to do that.”

“All of this needs some introspection and some debate and an understanding of how you want to plan for the next two years. Because the next T20 World Cup is going to be in the West Indies in two years’ time. From now till there, how are you going to develop those players who are going to win the World Cup for you? That’s how I would see it.”

“If it means that there has to be some continuity in the way you are going to approach that from a leadership perspective, then that’s fine. But it’s important that all stakeholders sit down and understand how you want to develop it. And you may still need a couple of players to play all three formats.” (IANS)

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