Despite overseeing five Test-series wins, which included an unbeaten streak of 13 matches, India coach Anil Kumble will have to go through the prescribed procedure and compete with fellow applicants if he aspires to get another stint with the team.
With his one-year contract ending with the Champions Trophy, the BCCI has invited application for the position of the head coach “to ensure a fair and completely transparent process”. Kumble will be a “direct entry for the process” but he will have to appear before the Cricket Advisory Committee (CAC) for an interview/presentation. “To ensure a fair and completely transparent process, a nominee of the Committee of Administrators (CoA) will oversee the entire process along with the Cricket Advisory Committee”, stated a BCCI press release.
The applicants, then, will be reviewed by the board’s three-member panel comprising Sachin Tendulkar, Sourav Ganguly and VVS Laxman. “They will conduct interviews and seek presentations to select the best possible candidate to guide the team and take Indian Cricket forward,” said the release. The deadline for submitting application is May 31.
Kumble was appointed in June last year and began his stint with a 2-0 Test series victory in West Indies. In 13 home Tests that followed, India won 10 and lost one under his charge. The team also won the limited-overs series against New Zealand and England.
It’s rumoured that Kumble has ruffled a few feathers in the BCCI by asking for a substantial pay hike for the centrally-contracted cricketers as well as the support staff. He met the BCCI office-bearers and the CoA in this regard on the morning of the IPL final and gave a detailed presentation. According to sources, he has asked for a 150 per cent hike in Grade A cricketers’ retainer fee and a Rs 7.5 crore annual contract for the Indian team head coach.
A senior BCCI functionary, however, ruled out any conspiracy theory. “Somebody may or may not have something for or against Anil Kumble, but personal likes or dislikes are never a factor in taking any such decision. Kumble’s performance as a coach is one thing, but when you have a transparent process you have to look towards the future. Last one year was a very good year but most of the matches were played in India,” he told The Indian Express on condition of anonymity.
He also pointed the case of Ravi Shastri. “He did brilliantly (won a Test series in Sri Lanka, the Asia Cup and guided the side to World T20 semi-final) as team director, still he had to go through the coach selection process, where he didn’t make the cut. So if Shastri had to go through the whole process, why not Kumble? He has to,” he asked.
The BCCI secretary’s office didn’t shortlist Kumble among the 21 probable candidates during the coach’s appointment process last year, because he didn’t fulfil the board-stipulated precondition of having coaching experience at first-class or international level. But Kumble was drafted in upon the CAC’s advice and eventually bagged a one-year contract.
Then BCCI secretary Ajay Shirke had said that Kumble needed to serve his apprenticeship as a coach at international level, which was a reason for his one-year contract. “As for the one-year period, Kumble is transforming himself from being a great on the cricketing field to probably becoming a great coach that we expect him to be. That transition has to be smooth. This is professional appointment. All professional appointments try to cover all bases,” Shirke had said.
Meanwhile, with the Indian team has already embarked on its attempt to defend the Champions Trophy title, questions are being asked about the timing of issuing the coach’s appointment notification. Asked about this, a BCCI insider said: “We were completely tied up with several things for the last few months; from court issues to ICC meetings and the IPL. Kumble’s one-year term ends with the Champions Trophy, so the notification was due.”