"Fans would have accepted us if we had pulled out of 2008 Australia tour," says Anil Kumble

BCCI had threaten to leave the tour mid-way after multiple controversies.

Anil Kumble during the 2008 tour to Australia

Whenever there is a discussion on India tour of Australia in 2007-08, it mainly surrounds the infamous Sydney Test which India lost by 122 runs. The match saw some pathetic umpiring decisions and also allegations against Harbhajan Singh for racial abuse. 

The then India captain Anil Kumble recalled how he had to make tough calls as a skipper on the tour. He was peeved with the horrible umpiring which cost India the match.

Harbhajan was banned for three years over racist remarks against Andrew Symonds. But BCCI didn't accept it and appealed against the ban. They also threatened to pull out of the tour.

The Indian cricket body had also requested for the removal of Steve Bucknor after continuous poor umpiring. 

Speaking about the Test match to off-spinner R Ashwin on his YouTube show DRS with Ash, he said, "As a captain, I thought the best result coming out of Sydney could have been a draw after all that had happened. Unfortunately, we lost. With 5 minutes to go, nobody expected a Michael Clarke to come and pick up 3 wickets in the final stages and win the game for Australia."

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"After all of that, as a captain, you're generally tuned to take decisions on the field. Here I was faced with something which was off the field. To take a decision, in the larger interest of the game. And one of our players was obviously banned for 3 matches because of a racist remark. That was what the pronouncement was. But we appealed."

The whole team had united to support Harbhajan. Talking about leaving the tour mid-way, Kumble said the fans would have accepted their move considering the situation at that time.

"I believed that our player was wronged and we had to be together as a team. But the challenge was there was a lot of talk about the team wanting to come back at that point in time and leave the tour and come back.

"Yes, probably, if that had happened, people would have accepted. Maybe, the Indian team was wronged and that's why they came back but I think, as a captain, or as a team, we had gone there to win the series. Unfortunately, with the 1st 2 results not going our way, the best result could have been a drawn series because 2 more Tests remained.

"I just wanted to rally around the team. I was fortunate enough to have senior players, former captains in the team and all of them, we got around as a unit, we addressed in a room where only the team was there and we took a decision to continue and make sure and we go on and win the next couple of matches because that would be the best message we can give back to our fans."

India won the third Test at Perth and managed to draw the final Test at Adelaide Oval. Kumble accepted the Perth win boosted their confidence.

"I think after the Perth Test match, I think the players from every aspect, believed that irrespective of what the situation was, we could still go out there and win. That was creditable and the way they responded to a calamity. I think hats off to the players in the way they responded to the situation," Kumble said.

 
 

By Sihyeu Singh - 01 Aug, 2020

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