Coach row: restore order, soon

To say that the manner in which Anil Kumble had to bow out as the head coach of the Indian cricket team was unfortunate would be an understatement. It’s no way to treat a player of that stature, regarded as India’s greatest match winner. Admittedly, and as Kumble himself pointed out in his statement, if the partnership between the two individuals becomes ‘untenable’, then it’s better for one of them to part ways. And in this situation, the former India captain had to do so because Virat Kohli, with whom he had a rift, was not going to be asked to step down for obvious reasons. Both Kumble and Kohli are fierce fighters, fitness freaks and don’t believe in giving less than 100% on the field. At the same time, both are strong-headed characters driven by firm convictions and there are bound to be differences in opinions but Kumble had made it abundantly clear on more than one occasion that the final call — be it on forming strategies or team combination — rests with the skipper. In his parting statement, Kumble also clarified that he always respected the role boundaries and his job was only to hold the mirror. And if Kohli thinks that Kumble indeed breached those bounda­ries, he has to come clean on that in public. Hiding behind well-rehearsed statements like “dressing-room matters are sacrosanct,” doesn’t serve anybody’s cause.

While Kumble’s voluntary exit was perhaps the best way to end this imbroglio, there is no doubt that it has a left a bad taste in the mouth. Therefore, those responsible in appo­inting the future coach should
ensure that such incidents aren’t repeated. If the Cricket Advisory Committee is still interested in choosing the next coach from what is going to be wider pool as the BCCI has decided to invite more applications, it is better they take every party concerned into confidence so that there is harmonious working relationship between the captain and the coach.

If only the BCCI officials, who are there only in acting capacity at the moment, and the Supreme Court-appointed Committee of Administrators (CoA) had been a little proactive, things may not have reached such a pass. Reduced to three after the resignation of Ramach­andra Guha, one of the members, CoA’s relevance itself has come under question now. It has failed to discharge its duties, as pointed out by Guha in his stinging letter to CoA chief Vinod Rai, assigned to it by the SC. And it has left the BCCI in a state of utter chaos and confusion. For the all-round good of Indian cricket, some order has to be restored and soon.  

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