Virat said players felt intimidated by Kumble: Vinod Rai
Anil Kumble felt that he was treated “unfairly” and forced to resign as head coach of the Indian team but skipper Virat Kohli opined that players were not happy with his “intimidating” style, according to former Committee of Administrators head Vinod Rai.
In his recently published book, Not Just A Nightwatchman: My Innings with BCCI, published by Rupa, Rai touched upon various issues that he dealt with during his 33-month tenure.
One of the issues and perhaps the most controversial, was when Kohli complained about his breakdown of relationship with Kumble, who announced his resignation publicly just after Champions Trophy in 2017. Kumble was handed a one-year contract in 2016.
“In my conversations with the captain and team management, it was conveyed that Kumble was too much of a disciplinarian and hence the team members were not too happy with him,” Rai wrote. “I had spoken to Virat Kohli on the issue and he did mention that the younger members of the team felt intimidated by the way he worked with them.”
Rai reveals that the then Cricket Advisory Committee (CAC), comprising Sachin Tendulkar, Sourav Ganguly and VVS Laxman, had recommended Kumble’s re-appointment.
“Soon, the CAC met in London and interacted with the two separately in a bid to resolve the issue. After deliberations over three days, they decided to recommend Kumble’s reappointment as the head coach.
“We had long conversations with Kumble after he had returned from the UK. He was obviously upset about the manner in which the entire episode had panned out. He felt he had been unfairly treated and a captain or team should not be given so much importance.
“It was the duty of the coach to bring discipline and professionalism into the team and as a senior, his views should have been respected by the players.”
Rai also wrote that Kumble felt that more credence was given to following protocols and process and less emphasis was laid on how the team performed under his guidance. “He was disappointed that we had given such importance to following process, and that, in view of the team’s performance over the previous year, he deserved an extension.
“I explained to him that considering the fact that even his earlier selection in 2016 had followed a process, and that his one-year contract had no extension clause, we were bound to follow process, even for his reappointment. And that is exactly what was done.”
Rai, however, found it mature and prudent on both Kohli and Kumble’s part to maintain a dignified silence on the issue or else the controversy would have continued.
“It is indeed very prudent of captain Kohli to have maintained a dignified silence. Any utterance from him would have set off a fusillade of opinions.
“Kumble, on his part, too, kept to himself and did not go public on any issue that had transpired. That was the most mature and dignified manner of dealing with a situation which could have become unpleasant for all parties involved.”