Why BCCI let Virat Kohli topple Anil Kumble as India cricket coach? Asks Azhar

Former Indian cricket team skipper Mohammad Azharuddin, criticising the BCCI for how they treated Anil Kumble, said that Virat Kohli, as a captain, has the right to choose the players but not the team coach

cricket Updated: Aug 10, 2017 11:09 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, Mumbai
Anil Kumble,Virat Kohli,Kohli vs Kumble
Anil Kumble, who was the bowling spearhead of the Indian cricket team led by Mohammad Azharuddin, quit as coach of the team after the ICC Champions Trophy, saying his ties with skipper Virat Kohli was ‘untenable’.(Getty Images)

Former India cricket team skipper Mohammad Azharuddin is unhappy with the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI). He is fighting to get his dues from the BCCI the court overturned his life ban, but that is not the reason.

India’s brilliant run in Test matches at home under Azhar was built on the shoulders of Anil Kumble, and the former skipper was critical of BCCI over the ex-spinner’s abrupt exit as coach. Kumble, India’s highest Test wicket-taker, decided not to seek extension after the ICC Champions Trophy, saying his ties with skipper Virat Kohli was ‘untenable’.

India have clinched the Test series in Sri Lanka with a game to spare after Ravi Shastri returned as coach. Azharuddin said the BCCI should be the final authority in appointing the coach and the captain should not influence the decision.

“I always feel the BCCI should be the body which appoints the coach. When I was playing, it never used to happen (this way)… you can’t pick and choose. The BCCI used to appoint the coach (and) it was not the captain’s prerogative. But now things have changed,” Azharuddin, who played for India from 1983-84 to 2000, said on the sidelines of a promotional event.

BCCI’s move on coach

Kumble’s position became shaky after BCCI sought fresh applications for the coach’s post when everyone expected him to get an extension. Later, the Board extended the deadline for applying to let Shastri apply amid reports that his rapport with Kohli would prove decisive.

Azharuddin though was all for Kohli getting his choice of players. “Captain is the main person in the dressing room because he runs the team and is the boss on the field. He should be given whatever he wants. Sometimes you want some players, which sometimes you get, sometimes you don’t. You can’t just say you can’t play since you didn’t get your players, you have to carry on.”

Anil Kumble’s respect for Azharuddin as skipper is well known. In 2004, even before Azharuddin won the court case against his life ban, the former skipper was invited to a felicitation function for the leg spinner.

Azharuddin criticised the BCCI’s treatment to Kumble. “I feel very sad for him. It is sad something like this happened to Anil. Knowing Anil, I don’t think he is that type (over-bearing or a hard taskmaster). Maybe, he thought it is better to be away from it than losing self-respect. He took the right decision.”

Kumble had a superb one-year term. He guided India to series wins against West Indies, New Zealand, England, Australia as well as the one-off Test against Bangladesh. India also reached the ICC Champions Trophy final in London.

“You do have ups and downs with the coach because every time you won’t agree with the coach or he won’t agree with you,” Azharuddin said, referring to differences between Kumble and Kohli. “There has to be the right balance. You have to work in tandem.”

First Published: Aug 09, 2017 23:07 IST