While he did not directly address Anil Kumble’s public statement following his resignation, Virat Kohli took a subtle jab at the former coach for his decision to air his views on the “rift” between the two in public on Tuesday. Kohli reiterated that the entire Indian team “respected” and “maintained” the “sanctity of the dressing room” and that they strived to keep what happens within the confines “private and sacred”.
Kumble had referred to the partnership between him and the captain as “untenable” after having learnt about Kohli’s reservations about his style. He even revealed that the BCCI had tried to intervene and resolve their misunderstandings.
Kohli, when asked about it at the team hotel in Port of Spain, insisted that he respected Kumble as a cricketer and a match-winner but also did talk about the respect he and his team had for the sanctity, a word he used a lot, of the dressing-room.
He spoke about having attended many press conferences during the Champions Trophy, where he if anything denied all reports regarding the rift insisting that it was just a way for the media to earn their livelihood.
“Obviously Anil bhai has expressed his views and he’s taken the decision to step out and we will respect that decision. It’s something that has happened right after the tournament. One thing for sure is that I’ve had 11 press conferences that have happened during the Champions Trophy,” he said.
“We have created a culture over the last 3-4 years that whatever happens in the change room, we’ve tried to maintain the sanctity of the change room throughout. That is what the whole team believes in. For us that is paramount. I’ve always respected that and we have continued to maintain that as well,” Kohli added.
This was Kohli’s first press conference since Kumble’s resignation and his first chance to give out his side of the story regarding his failed relationship with the coach. But he stuck to talking about the change-room code even when asked whether Kumble’s style—intimidating as it’s been reported—had affected the team’s approach or performances.
“Like I said for me what’s most important is to maintain the sanctity of the dressing room and what happens in the change-room is something that’s very sacred and private to all of us. And something that I would not express in details in a public scenario. As I said, his point of view is out there and we respect that decision,” he said.
In his statement uploaded on Twitter Kumble had stated: “I was surprised since I had always respected the role boundaries between captain and coach. Though the BCCI attempted to resolve the misunderstandings between the captain and me, it was apparent that the partnership was untenable, and I, therefore, believe it is best for me to move on.
“Professionalism, discipline, commitment, honesty, complementary skills and diverse views are the key traits I bring to the table. These need to be valued for the partnership to be effective. I see the coach’s role akin to ‘holding a mirror’ to drive self-improvement in the team’s interest.
“In light of these ‘reservations’, I believe it is best I hand over this responsibility to whomever the CAC and BCCI deem fit.”