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If it had happened today, Sourav would have thrust Kumble down Virat’s throat: Vinod Rai on coach-captain rift

Vinod Rai, whose tenure as the Chief of the CoA came to an end on Wednesday has revealed that he tried his best to keep Anil Kumble as India coach but couldn’t do so as Virat Kohli wasn’t ready to accept it.

The partnership between Virat Kohli and Anil Kumble didn't last long

The partnership between Virat Kohli and Anil Kumble didn’t last long (Reuters)

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Vinod Rai’s 33-month tenure in the BCCI came to an end on Wednesday
  • Rai said that he asked Sachin Tendulkar and Sourav Ganguly to talk to Virat Kohli during the Champions Trophy
  • Rai also said that he respected Anil Kumble because he walked out

The former head of the BCCI’s Committee of Administrators (CoA) Vinod Rai has revealed that he was in favour of continuing with Anil Kumble as India coach after the widely-publicized fallout in 2017 between the legendary spinner and Indian captain Virat Kohli. During his one-year term Kumble turned out to be one of the most successful coaches with India excelling in all formats of the game, especially in Test cricket. But due to differences arising between him and Kohli, Kumble was ultimately forced to resign from his post as the BCCI started looking for his replacements.

In an interview with Hindustan Times, Rai said that he would have extended Kumble’s contract if it had an extension clause.

“Anil Kumble was the best coach available. If his contract had an extension clause, I would have extended it. I have too much respect and regard for Kumble. But since there was no extension clause and since I wasn’t equipped to decide, we fell back on CAC. We inherited the CAC, not created it,” said Rai after the tenure of the CoA came to an end on Wednesday.

Rai also went into the details of what went on between him, the Cricket Advisory Committee (CAC) and the coach-captain duo as the tumultuous events unfolded during the Champions Trophy 2017.

“I had a long chat with Sachin then and Sourav now. I met Sachin in Birmingham during the Champions Trophythey were meeting Kumble and Viratand I told Sachin I had a long chat with Virat (when he was in Mumbai and I was in Hyderabad) on the telephone. I barely knew Virat then. I told Sachin, I felt he was not willing to accept that Kumble continues. So you people have a word with him. Coming from people of your stature, you may be able to persuade him’. I know Sachin and Sourav spoke to him. Sourav told me recently that they had a long chat with him. If they couldn’t persuade him how could I?

“Look, if there is a difference in the dressing room between captain and coach, who is more dispensable? Obviously, the coach. That’s where we got caught. Dirty linen got washed in public. Ramachandra Guha resigned (as CoA member). The same thing arose with the issue of Mithali Raj and Ramesh Powar. Dissonance in the dressing room and we had to fall back on CAC again. There was so much controversy. Who could have handled it better? If this had happened today, Sourav would have thrust Kumble down Virat’s throat. But it could have created more tensions. I respected Kumble because he walked out,” said Rai.

On the issue of old faces still holding positions of power within the BCCI and it’s various State units, Rai hopes that the mandatory ‘cooling-off’ period introduced due to the Lodha reforms will restrict the practice.

“The constitution doesn’t bar a brother or sister or daughter from coming in. It is the mindset of those who were holding BCCI captive that has tried to find loopholes. I still don’t care. I think the cooling-off principle will restrict that… the three states who didn’t comply were not there at the AGM,” concluded Rai.

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