Bhubaneswar: Odisha’s emerging eminence in sports and sporting events has come in for praise from none other than former Indian cricket captain and spin wizard Anil Kumble, who said he is hopeful of more champions coming out of the state in the next few years.
The former Team India coach also lauded the Odisha government for its initiatives to encourage sports and sportspersons. “Initiatives are being taken by the Chief Minister and we have seen many international events like World Cup Hockey are happening here. It’s wonderful to see Odisha is taking the lead,” said Kumble.
“Odisha is full of talents in various fields of sports. It is our responsibility to spot those talents and provide them the required opportunities to compete at the international level,” he added.
Kumble was speaking on the sidelines of the Odisha Knowledge Hub lecture series programme where he delivered a speech on ‘Indian Sport – An Insider’s Perspective’ at Lok Seva Bhavan here on Saturday.
To become a sporting nation, there is a need to strengthen sports infrastructure at grassroots level. “There is a need for the country to focus on Olympics,” said Kumble.
Speaking on his memorable moments, the ace bowler said, “Winning the Test series against England and Pakistan are my memorable moments. Being part of the Indian team for 18 years is obviously the biggest moment of my life.”
He also refused to speculate on MS Dhoni’s retirement. “I cannot tell when Mahi will retire. He can only answer to the question.” This apart, he praised the performances of Team India captain Virat Kohli and vice-captain Rohit Sharma.