#INDvAUS: Will there be calm after the storm? – After first two Tests between India, Australia hit turbulence, Kumble says there is no need to curb natural instinct of players
Indian cricketers flank captain Virat Kohli (4th from right) during a practice session before the third Test against Australia at the JSCA stadium in Ranchi on Tuesday (PTI)
It's halfway in the ongoing Test series between India and Australia. The first two Tests of this series played for the Border-Gavaskar Trophy was turbulent with a lot spoken as much on the field as off it.
So much so that one of India's greatest victories in recent times took the back seat as matters such as the pitch and controversy surrounding Decision Referral System took the limelight.
Both sides traded words, especially scathing were former Australian cricketers in their comments on India captain Virat Kohli. Visiting skipper Steve Smith didn't find the going any smoother.
Both the sides will expect the third Test, which begins after eight-day break, here in Ranchi from Thursday and the fourth in Dharamshala from March 25 to be smooth.
India chief coach Anil Kumble said that he would not curb players from expressing themselves. Speaking to the media here on Tuesday, Kumble said: "You don't want to curb any natural instincts of the players. As long as they go out there and do what is expected of them, there is absolutely no issues with that.
"I don't think we need to read too much into that aggression or body language."
"But, every player has his own way of having a game face and that's what you want – it's an international sport and you want everyone to go out there and show what they are capable of.
"This is a very important series, it is one-all and obviously, both teams will come hard in this game and I am sure cricket will be the winner."
"As custodians of this great game, we believe that it is important that we look after the game. The key stakeholders are the players and they certainly understand the responsibility on the field."
And what better place than Ranchi, the home of 'Captain Cool' Mahendra Singh Dhoni, that will host its first-ever Test. Dhoni, who retired from Tests in 2014, was known as Captain Cool for a reason — he did not let emotions get the better of him in the field and was unflappable in his demeanour.
It is expected that the remaining Tests will be played with only cricketing skills being the focus of discussions and not on other things. For starters, Kohli and Smith will come together and shake hands before the start of play on Thursday to indicate the remaining matches will be played in the right spirit.
Asked if it was difficult to get the players to focus back on cricket after all that has happened in the first two Tests, Kumble said: "I think what was important was to bring the focus back on cricket. I am really glad that the BCCI took a mature call along with Cricket Australia to issue a joint statement that cricket needs to move on and we have moved on from whatever happened in that background.
"That's really important because focus obviously has to be on the game. We made a fantastic comeback in the second Test after losing the first Test. To comeback from a stage where Australia were ahead on Days 2 and 3 (in Bengaluru), and win a Test match was rewarding."