There couldn’t have been a worse time to raise this issue but now that it is there, Indian cricket has to deal with it. There are no winners in the Anil Kumble-Virat Kohli controversy. There is only clash of egos. Kumble, the powerhouse of yesteryear, is now centre of the controversy in which Kohli has a bigger say.
Before India left for England to play the ICC Champions Trophy, the Board of Control for Cricket in India invited applications for Team India coach which gave the first impression that all is not good between the captain and the coach.
There are no doubts about the rift. Kumble, even during his playing days, has taken a lot of pride in representing India. Kohli is similar but there is a difference in temperament and deamanour. Now, Kumble may not even want the job anymore.
Virender Sehwag and Tom Moody are the two of the top names who have applied for the job. And, while BCCI officials try to make peace between Kohli and Kumble and the Cricket Advisory Committee takes the opinion of the Indian players about Kumble, the search for a new coach is on. Media reports say Sehwag will take over. But CoA member Vinod Rai is due to meet Kumble and ask him to continue.
On the other hand, as per media reports, Ganguly met the players at the team hotel in England to ask them about Kumble. Even BCCI secretary Amitabh Choudhary and General Manager MV Sridhar met the Indian team. To broker peace between Kohli and Kumble, the CoA is holding meetings.
The resignation of Ramachandra Guha from CoA also brings a doubt in the BCCI governance. Is cricket now no one’s child?
There is no ticking point in this story. The Kumble-Kohli rift could have begun when Ravi Shastri lost his coaching job and Kumble took over. Or during the Australia series. Or anytime during his tenure.
But, as Rey Jennings, former coach with Royal Challenger Bangalore in Indian Premier League, told The Indian Express, “He is a very talented kid but sometimes thinks he is better than the game. I know both of them (Kumble and Kohli). Pretty headstrong gentlemen with conviction of their views. A conflict, I guess, wasn’t going to be surprising.”
The words echo. Kohli has set a precedent for the team with his fitness game and hard-work. Kumble is a a no-bullshit guy. Now, everything lies in the hands of the Advistory Committee. They need to clear the air, decide a coach and more importantly decide, who runs the cricket in the dressing room.