Mumbai: Rahul Dravid, former India skipper and batting legend and the current India Under-19 and India A coach, minced no words as he condemned the manner in which Anil Kumble was sacked as Indian cricket team coach.
Kumble, who enjoyed a solid success as India coach after he took over the reigns from team director Ravi Shastri last year, stepped down from the position following ICC Champions Trophy 2017. Kumble stated that the partnership with captain Virat Kohli was “untenable”.
Dravid, Kumble’s long-time teammate at Karnataka and in the Indian cricket team, said he was not pleased with the way the incident was played out in the media. However, Dravid made it sure he did not blame Kohli in any which way while discussing the issue at the Bangalore Literature Festival.
"What's the answer? At the end of the day, I don't know the specifics of that particular issue, but it shouldn't have got played out in the way that it did," Dravid was quoted as saying by Times of India.
"I think the whole thing got played out in the media which is very, very unfortunate for Anil and not fair on him at all. So, what's the reality of it and what happens behind closed doors is not something I'm privy to, so I can't comment directly. But it was definitely an unfortunate episode, especially to someone like Anil who has been an absolute legend of the game, someone who has done more to win Test matches for India than anybody I know. And he had a successful year as coach as well. But the fact is that it should never have played out they way that it did, publicly," added Dravid.
"See, coaches get sacked, the first thing you know when you stop playing and become a coach is that some day you are going to get sacked. That's the reality. As an India A and Under-19 coach, I know that someday I'm going to get the boot," said Dravid before adding, “Some football managers get sacked after two games, so that's the reality. Players are more powerful than coaches, we know that because we were more powerful than coaches when we played."
Dravid, who is considered as one of the nicest individuals to have played the sport, also said that he cringes reading the pre-match statements from Virat Kohli.
"Virat sometimes comes across as outrageous and I cringe on reading his statements before a series. But if he can bring the best out of himself by needling the opposition, so be it," said Dravid.
Dravid, however, made it clear that as long as Kohli is not letting the team down and performing for the team, it should not matter.
"I think the game is still about performance. So let's not take that way from someone like Kohli. That's his personality. People have asked me, 'Why didn't you behave like that?' But that's not what got the best out of me. I would have been inauthentic to myself if I had tried to put tattoos and behave like Virat,” a report in ESPNcricinfo quoted Dravid as saying.
"Sometimes, especially before an Australia series, you'll find Virat saying the most outrageous things. And I read the paper and cringe at times. But then I think back, maybe he actually wants that contest. He wants that lip on the field because that gets the best out of him. Now that might not be everyone's cup of tea. But at the end of the day, he's got to do what gets the best out of him. Ajinkya Rahane is very different and he gets the best out of himself by doing different things. I think being authentic to yourself is very, very important,” added the cricket legend.
"If engaging in a contest, sometimes needling the opposition, is getting the best out of Virat - and it certainly is because his level of performance is second to none in the world today - then so be it. You can't blame him for it,” continued Dravid.
The former India skipper meanwhile advised the youngsters not to blatantly copy Kohli.
"What worries me a little bit is a lot of that gets translated into junior cricket. That's the scary thing for me, not so much what Virat does. Kids at 12, 13, 14 want to become the next Virat Kohli, not realising that maybe that's not authentic to who they are," concluded Dravid.