Mumbai: While neither Team India coach Anil Kumble nor skipper Virat Kohli have spoken on the reports suggesting tension between the two, there seems to be more drama to the story as it is now reported Kumble leaked one-on-one conversations with the Indian cricketers to media.
"We've been told that there is a WhatsApp group created by Kumble of his few trusted media friends and few confidential talks between him and senior players were leaked through that," a report in DNA quoted an unnamed senior BCCI official as saying.
Kumble, who took charge of the Indian side following the departure of Team Director Ravi Shastri last year, was appointed as team’s head coach for a period of one-year. His contract will be over at the end of the ICC Champions Trophy in England.
While the former leg-spinner enjoyed a fine run as the team lost just a series under him, BCCI set the tongues wagging as they invited applications for the position of head coach instead of offering extension to Kumble.
Although Kumble was given a direct entry into the process of selection, the move sparked discussions of possible disharmony inside the Indian dressing room where coach and a number of cricketers are at the loggerheads.
"At this highest level, a team needs a good man manager and not a great name. We've seen how a cricketing great like Greg Chappell literally created a friction in Team India during his tenure. We certainly don't want that kind of situation and I hope the three-member CAC – Sachin Tendulkar, Ganguly and VVS Laxman – would consider all these things before taking a final call," added the BCCI official before saying, "Kohli and Kumble are both strong personalities and Indian cricket fans would certainly not want a situation like the old."
"COA is apparently keen to have Kumble again but then Kohli's opinion is also very critical," said a source close to COA. "Rai is visiting London during the course of Champions Trophy and it is believed that he would speak to all the parties involved, including the CAC before the final interviews on June 5 and 6. If no solution is found then expect a new coach on June 10," concluded the report.
It was earlier reported that Kumble and Kohli were not on the same page over team selection during the third India versus Australia Test in Ranchi. While Kumble wanted to field Kuldeep Yadav in the playing XI, skipper Kohli shot down the idea. The left-arm chinaman bowler then made his Test debut in the fourth and final Test of the series in Dharamsala as Ajinkya Rahane led the Indian side in absence of Kohli, who was recovering from the shoulder injury.
“This may or may not be the reason. But we believe the people in the corridors of power have been told that Kumble is overbearing and doesn’t give freedom to the players. It’s sad that aspersions are cast on a legend of Indian cricket,” a BCCI official had earlier told The Hindu.
It is also learnt that Kohli was hesitant as Kumble was made Team India coach.
“He would throw a word or two about what he thought about the new coach. You know, nothing bad, but there was enough there to realise he wasn’t sure or had some doubts. Kohli would have loved to have a team atmosphere like the one MS Dhoni had,” Indian Express quoted a source close to Indian team contingent as saying.
“It’s just not the captain alone. A few months back, a bowler landed at the national cricket academy in Bangalore. Rest, recuperation, and some fitness work was on his mind. Some bit of bowling too. He was told he had to put in hours of bowling, get Test-match fit. He wasn’t initially keen but was told he had no choice. For what it’s worth, his bowling improved at the end of the stint. Sometimes, as a coach, you have to tread on fragile egos, be sensitive. A couple of players felt Kumble wasn’t," added the same report.