The Indian cricket team has been many different kinds of captains in its history. There was the calm and composed legend Sourav Ganguly, the ‘Captain Cool’ Mahendra Singh Dhoni who at times would answer with his aggressive shots, and the iconic Virat Kohli who is ready to pick bones with the opposition. However, retired cricketer Pragyan Ojha recently reveals the name of a skipper from the past, who was not only aggressive towards his competition, but also towards his own players, and that man surprisingly is Anil Kumble!
Compared to other captains of his generation, Anil Kumble’s stint as the skipper of the squad was rather short. During 2007-08, the legendary spinner captained the Indian Test squad in 14 matches.
Known for his gentle and soft spoken nature, knowing about Kumble’s aggressive side and that too towards his own teammates, is a bombshell for the country’s cricket fans, as Pragyan Ojha revealed.
During his international career from 2008 to 2013, Ojha made 24 Test, 18 ODI and 6 T20I appearances for the Men in Blue. Even though he himself did not play under Kumble’s captaincy, Ojha revealed an unknown and rather compelling side of Kumble, who was pretty macho towards his own players as he was to the opposition on the pitch.
Speaking in an interview with Wisden, Ojha said, “When he was on the ground, Kumble used to be very aggressive, both with the opponent and with his own players.”
What is fascinating about India’s leading wicket taker in red ball cricket was, as Ojha went on, that Kumble was a completely different person away from the 22 yards.
“Off the field, you won’t be able to relate. I was taken aback, ‘Am I talking to the same person who I saw on the ground?’ He used to compete hard, but off the field, he was very soft-spoken,” the 33 year old added.
Under Kumble’s leadership, India won three test matches, lost six and drew five, and the role of captaincy was slowly earned by Dhoni in 2007.