Calcutta: “It’s an honour and I’m excited...”
For a change, former India captain Anil Kumble actually sounded pleased, about his appointment as chairman of the International Cricket Council (ICC)’s cricket committee.
Contacted by The Telegraph on Thursday evening, Kumble, who is the Karnataka State Cricket Association (KSCA) president, said: “To succeed someone like Clive Lloyd, who has done so much for the game, is really nice... Feels good.”
The ICC is feeling good, too. That got reflected in president Alan Isaac’s comments: “We have a new chairman who has unquestioned experience not only as a player, but also as an administrator with the KSCA.
“I am sure that he will carry on Clive’s good work and bring, like (recently-retired) Andrew Strauss, contemporary thinking to the cricket committee. Both understand clearly the issues facing the modern game.”
Kumble, for his part, added: “I’m awaiting details from the ICC, the number of meetings I’ve got to attend, but I’m looking forward to working with the likes of (veteran) Mark Taylor and (debutant) Strauss.”
Asked if he had a priority, Kumble replied: “Look, it’s too soon to talk about priorities... Let me first sit down with colleagues on the cricket committee, get to know their views... We will probably meet next month.”
The cricket committee chairman works closely with the ICC’s chief executive and Kumble shares an excellent rapport with incumbent Dave Richardson, a former South Africa ’keeper.
One assumes Kumble can count on Richardson’s support on touchy matters.
“We’ve played against each other and, after Dave retired, I’d interacted with him on the issue of contracts for players (in the early 2000s)... More recently, we’ve been together on the MCC’s world cricket committee. It’s nice to have former cricketers (in positions of decision making),” Kumble observed.
Kumble to head ICC's technical committee
Kumble, who already heads the Board’s technical committee, added: “While on the cricket committee, among other things, I’ll get to know more about the challenges faced by countries at the domestic level... The challenges vary.
Incidentally, the ICC’s cricket committee includes former India captain Ravi Shastri and former India coach Gary Kirsten. Both have enormous respect for Kumble.
Kumble is the second Indian, after Sunil Gavaskar (also a former captain) to chair the cricket committee.
Gavaskar’s extended tenure, however, ended abruptly in May 2008, with the ICC citing “conflict of interest” to push him towards putting in his papers. Gavaskar couldn’t continue both as a star mediaman and chairman of the cricket committee.
Kumble is an occasional columnist and expert on television.