Anil Kumble stepped down as team India coach on Tuesday after weeks of rumours that his relationship with captain Virat Kohli and the team had become strained over a difference of opinions. Those rumours were then brushed off by Kohli prior to the start of the ICC Champions Trophy. But those reports have been proven true as Kumble vacated the role and in his statement revealed that he was informed of Kohli’s reservations with the former India captain’s style.
Where Kumble has said his side of things on the issue, there has been no word from Kohli or a player within the team. And that former India opener Aakash Chopra believes is unfair because opinions have been formed by many and judgements passed without getting a full account from both sides. He also said players have a say in selection of the coach – as claimed by Ramachandra Guha in his resignation letter from BCCI Committee of Administrators (CoA) – but their reasoning should be justified. “There have been instances where players have had their say and sometimes not had their say. Let’s not cherry pick cases. Maybe Kohli wanted Kumble too. A player doesn’t get everything every time they ask – sometimes you do and sometimes you don’t. That’s just part of team culture. Sometimes they comply and sometimes they don’t. In this case, it is best to hear both sides of the story before making villians out of people,” he said while speaking to IndianExpress.com.
Chopra further stated that the treatment meted out to Kumble was a bit unfair and could have been handled much better. “It could have been handled much better. As per Kumble’s statement, he was informed of Kohli’s reservations only recently. That leaves a sour taste in the mouth – that single factor. He would feel slightly hard done by. I do think he would have known about the rumours circulating though. Had attempts been made to appease things earlier maybe the episode could have been done better. It is understandable that a professional employment has to be created after the end of his contract.”
“For a coach and a team/captain, the performance and inter-personal relationship both are important. If one doesn’t work, it is tough to continue,” he added.
For way forward, Chopra said the nationality of the coach doesn’t matter with some former players saying foreign coaches are brought in because they toe the line allowing players to be as independent as possible – something Indian team had allegedly been affected by under Kumble. “Nationality of coach doesn’t matter. It is the credentials that matter. Just take a look at what they bring to the table and discuss with team captain or the team to keep them in the loop. If they have any reservation, and the reasoning is just, take that into account too. Many players have played under different type of coaches and personalities. It would be unfair to say that only ‘yes men’ survive.
He said rebuilding the trust between captain and coach is tough if the situation had become difficult and the loss to Indian cricket team would be known in good time. “We’ll get to know that in good time. Anil has had a good record and India have been very good with him and Virat at the top. Let’s see how things transpire from here. Unlikely that Kumble will return as coach but would be involved in some other capacity. Lack of trust with the team is hard to rebuild,” said the former India batsman.