Ramachandra Guha quits board panel after he opposed Virat Kohli’s say on coach

An official familiar with the communication between the CoA and CEO said Guha was not against the process to select the coach but he did not want the cricket committee to be influenced by the Indian dressing room.

Written by Devendra Pandey | Mumbai | Updated: June 2, 2017 8:55 am
virat kohli, ramachandra guha anil kumble, india coach, icc champions trophy, cricket news, cricket, sports news, indian express Eminent scholar and Historian Ramachandra Guha will be delivering “Samvatsar Lecture” on February 23. (Express photo by Tashi Tobgyal)

Historian Ramachandra Guha informed the Supreme Court Thursday that he had resigned from the court-appointed Committee of Administrators (CoA) of the Indian cricket board. His counsel told the court that Guha had submitted his resignation on May 28 to Vinod Rai, chairman of the CoA.

The Indian Express has learnt that three days before he resigned, Guha had warned BCCI CEO Rahul Johri — and other committee members — about the repercussions of allowing captain Virat Kohli and other players a say in the process of selecting the team coach.

Reached for comment, Guha only said: “Yes, I have quit.”

It is learnt that in a May 25 email, Guha had expressed apprehension about the fairness of the selection process that would decide present coach Anil Kumble’s future. He was also of the view that the coach had an “excellent” record during his year-long stint. Guha, sources said, feared that by giving undue weightage to the views of Kohli and his team members, the BCCI would be setting a precedent.

An official familiar with the communication between the CoA and CEO said Guha was not against the process to select the coach but he did not want the cricket committee — consisting of Sachin Tendulkar, Sourav Ganguly and VVS Laxman — to be influenced by the Indian dressing room.

“He didn’t mince words. He put it on mail that the captain and coaches are already deciding commentators, and if they are allowed to pick the coach of their own choice, they will soon be deciding the selectors, even the CEO,” the official said.

Last year, after the T20 World Cup that India hosted, Harsha Bhogle was removed from the BCCI commentary team. There was talk then that Bhogle lost his contract because of a view in the Indian dressing room that he was over-critical of the home team. “While deciding the commentators, we take feedback from everyone,” was BCCI’s official line on the removal of one its oldest commentators.

The email trail, sources said, also has CEO Johri informing the CoA that the cricket committee of Tendulkar, Ganguly and Laxman were kept in the loop about the process which they endorsed. This was done after Kohli had met Tendulkar.

Meanwhile, in Birmingham, on the sidelines of India’s net session, BCCI secretary Amitabh Chaudhary tried to play down the Kumble-Kohli rift. Refusing to comment on Guha’s resignation, he said he wasn’t aware about any kind of stand-off between the coach and captain. “It is in the realm of imagination,” he said. Later, when he was told that there can’t be smoke without fire, he replied: “There wasn’t any smoke.”

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