As the coach of Indian national team, he has done some wonder, winning 12 test matches and losing only once over the last twelve months, as well as winning the ODI series against New Zealand and England.
Still, Anil Kumble suddenly found himself in a position of uncertainty: whether he will have the chance to continue as the chief coach of Indian team till 2019 World Cup or he has to bid adieu after the Champions Trophy. The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has invited application for the head coach, as the current contract with Kumble expiring by the end of Champions Trophy. BCCI also said in a statement that Kumble does not need to apply freshly as he is a direct entry in the race to become the coach of the National team. BCCI also announced that the three-member cricket advisory committee would look into the process of selecting India’s coach for the next term.
Still, questions are being raised as the timing for such a procedure is not at all expected by anyone in the Indian cricketing fraternity.
Is it simply a much-needed formality? Or a deliberate attempt to give Kumble a message?
There are speculations that the board has not taken in good spirit the incumbent coach Anil Kumble’s call for increased wages for all Grade A contracted players as well as for himself. Kumble had also voiced his opinions, making it clear that the Indian team wants to defend the Champions Trophy it won in 2013 when there were calls for India pulling out of the tournament owing to the fallout from the ICC meeting that saw the BCCI’s revenue share being reduced according to the new revenue model.
In the last one year, under Kumble, India has won everything there was to win – which included five-Test series, a one-day series, and a T20I series. So, how is the advisory committee going to be looking at any other candidate ignoring a successful one? The advisory committee – comprising Sachin Tendulkar, Sourav Ganguly and VVS Laxman – has clearly been put in a spot of embarrassment. It is also learned from some reliable sources in BCCI that a section of board administrators wasn’t very happy with Kumble’s set of demands. One individual said it smacked of unionism while another admitted that the coach was on a ‘sticky wicket’.
It is also learned that Kumble and Virat Kohli do not share a good rapport, indicating a conflict within the team which also may be a cause of Kumble being stuck onto the backfoot. It is believed that Kumble being a ‘hard task-master’ has not gone down well with the seniors. There is no serious crisis as yet, but sources say players were happier with Ravi Shastri’s style of working. It is understood that Vinod Rai, chairman of the Supreme Court-appointed Committee of Administrators (CoA), is likely to meet the three-member panel of Sachin-Sourav and Laxman to discuss the issue. Sources said Kohli had a word with Ganguly after the practice game against New Zealand on Sunday and may have discussed the issue at length. It is learned that a certain section of BCCI was in favour of extending Kumble’s contract earlier, but a board functionary told them that Kohli was not comfortable with the idea of working with Kumble on a long term basis. Sources say Kohli and Kumble had a difference of opinion over several issues related to the playing XI during the India-Australia series.
It would be interesting to see whether this fiasco about the selection of a new coach actually transpires into a new coach being chosen or it turns out to be a mere formality before re-electing Kumble.