Is Virat Kohli the only one to blame in spat with Anil Kumble?

first_imgThe storm has passed. After weeks of speculation, it finally became clear that all was not well between Virat Kohli and Anil Kumble in the one year they spent together. The marriage that was made in heaven, was in shambles by the time Kumble decided to move on.Kumble, appointed by his the cricket advisory committee (former teammates Sachin Tendulkar, Sourav Ganguly and VVS Laxman), to coach Team India, delivered stunning results. Test series wins over West Indies, New Zealand, Bangladesh and Australia, limited-overs series triumphs over New Zealand and England and a final in the Champions Trophy. That is not a bad record at all for a man who had come in without any prior experience of coaching.But Kumble had to go because the captain was not happy with his style of coaching. Kohli was panned – he had defied the CAC and stood up to Kumble’s “overbearing” nature. Maybe there was some justification in the anger directed at the skipper. He is just about settling down as captain and he needed someone like Kumble to be by his side.Reports of a rift between Kumble and Kohli had first emerged just before the Champions Trophy. Kumble’s one-year contract was set to be over on June 20 but there was a lingering feeling that it would be automatically extended given the impressive track record. Yet on May 25, the BCCI went ahead and advertised for the next head coach. Subsequently, five names were shortlisted and Kumble also re-applied.There remained some hope the impasse would end. The advisory committee backed Kumble to continue but wanted more time to decide the course ahead. The CAC met Kohli on the eve of the Champions Trophy final against Pakistan – the captain reportedly showed signs of taking a step back to work things out but Kumble was in no mood to budge.advertisementThe final nail in the coffin came on June 18 when Kumble screamed at the team after the drubbing against Pakistan. The players did not expect to be shouted at when they were already smarting from a crushing defeat. And that possibly sealed Kumble’s fate  – he put in his papers two days later when the rest of the team had left for the West Indies.Look at it from a distance and it is obvious there was a clash of two very strong personalities. But the irony here is that both men are passionate about Indian cricket and want to win at all costs. Together, Kohli and Kumble (despite their differences), forged a strong combination and put India firmly on the perch in the ICC Test rankings and laid a foundation in the shorter formats.India were being moulded into a crack unit and their sole objective was to win – ruthless cricket, aggressive body language and relentless pressure on the opposition became trademarks of the team.(Anil Kumble-Virat Kohli rift: A timeline of events)So who is to really blame for the fracas that unfolded this week? Should Kohli continue to be panned? Or should Kumble be taken to task for doing his job so well? The advisory committee selected a candidate who in their wisdom was the best man for the coaching job. And then they backed him.But where was the BCCI in all this? The acting secretary said he was not aware of any problems in the dressing room and said the news surrounding the rift was “purely” in the realm of the imagination. But then who expected the BCCI to come out and reveal the dirty  secrets on the eve of a big tournament?There is no one party which should be held accountable. Kumble had to go and there was widespread criticism of the captain, who is now in the West Indies, far away from the limelight here. After the gruels of the last one year, it is expected to be a more relaxed series and maybe, maybe sometime in the course of those matches, Kohli would be prompted to speak up on the issue and present his side of the story.Kumble has had his say in the matter and it is now important for the captain to come out and clear the air a little bit. He is the best batsman in the side and the only one capable of leading India. The team needs him, the cricketing fraternity looks up to him – what is his side of the story? That would be the next story we would all be looking forward to.advertisementlast_img

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