Former Indian spinner Pragyan Ojha has said that spin great Anil Kumble was very aggressive on the field, but equally calm off-the-pitch. During the initial stages of his career, Ojha had credited Kumble on fine-tuning his game. However, the spinner never got a chance to play with Kumble for the country, as he made his debut after the spin legend retired from international cricket.
"When he was on the ground, Kumble used to be very aggressive, both with the opponent and with his own players," Ojha told Wisden in an interview. "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," said Ojha.
Even as Ojha couldn't share the Indian dressing room with Kumble, he was the part of the side when stalwarts like Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid, Virender Sehwag, VVS Laxman and others played for the side. He was in the Test team during a transitional phase in Indian cricket, when the baton was being passed on to the younger generation of cricketers, like Virat Kohli, Cheteshwar Pujara and Ajinkya Rahane, among others.
"Sachin paaji used to be very calm, composed. He never used to give any reaction. He had a different approach. Anil bhai had a different approach. Dhoni and Kohli, they want to win games for the country, but their approach is completely different," he said.
"Someone like VVS Laxman would listen to Suprabhatam and then go and bat. That is his aggression. Someone like a Kohli will be listening to loud, Punjabi music, showing body language – not gestures – and he likes to show he is in your face. It is not wrong in any way, it was just different."