Source: The Hitavada      Date: 22 Jun 2017 15:27:36

THE resignation of Anil Kumble as the Head Coach of the Indian cricket team under Captain Virat Kohli does not auger well for Indian cricket. Even though Captain has his own right to seek a coach with whom he can work well, he cannot dictate terms on the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) to ensure that the Head Coach is dropped. Finding working with Kohli untenable, Anil Kumble has quit the prestigious job even though the BCCI had indicated that he would be the coach until the end of the ensuing tour of the West Indies by the Indian cricket team. By so resigning, Kumble, thus, has added one undesirable dimension to the outing in West Indies. 

But the resignation has not come on Kumble’s own volition. He has stated at the time of tendering his resignation that the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) had indicated to him that the Captain had certain reservations about him and his style of coaching. This aspect of the episode has angered and disturbed many sports legends including Sunil Gavaskar, Bishen Singh Bedi, Akash Chopra. A popular commentator like Harsha Bhogle, too, is unhappy and has insisted that the episode demonstrated an absence of well-oiled organisational process that should have been directed at preserving people with undisputed commitment to the game and the team.

While Gavaskar called it a “sad day” for Indian cricket, Akash Chopra has insisted that the coach should have been selected before the home season and just before the start of the Champions Trophy.

These comments from those who know things in totality make a strong case against the shoddy manner in which the Board has handled the whole affair. There is little doubt that Virat Kohli can play a big role in impacting the decision about the head coach, for finally it is he who has to deal with the coach day in and day out. When the Board knew well that Kohli and Kumble did not see eye-to-eye, its should have resisted the temptation to appoint Anil Kumble whose contribution to Indian and world cricket has been phenomenal. So, even as the Board favoured Anil Kumble as head coach, Captain Virat Kohli had reservations. When things come to head between the coach and the Captain, it is quite likely that the Board would back the Captain. Naturally, Kumble the coach suffered, and resigned ultimately.

This entire chain of developments is disgusting, to say the least. It is unfortunate that the Board appoints a head coach but cannot protect his job as well as dignity. It is in utter disgust that Anil Kumble calls it a day. With the West Indies tour on the cards, absence of a proper coach with the same experience and skills coming in at right time, could affect the showing.

In retrospect, it can be said that the conflict between the coach and the captain might have affected the Indian performance in the Champions Trophy finals. For, the team that had been playing very well until two days prior to the encounter suddenly collapsed in all departments of the game. It could be a matter of probe for the BCCI to know if the tiff between the coach and the captain had reached such an ugly level.

If it was obvious to many that the partnership between Kumble and Kohli was untenable, as alleged by Kumble himself, then why should the Board have insisted upon it? Obviously, there is something fishy about the whole affair, and it would be in larger interest to conduct a deep probe into the episode. The job of a coach has its own importance in modern cricket. It is the coach who lends to the team a better comprehension of the challenge on hand. If there are fault-lines in the relationship between the coach and the captain, then team cannot perform well. This seems to have happened in the Kumble-Kohli relationship. This should be taken as a wake up call.