How BCCI saved Virat Kohli, Ravi Shastri from facing media ‘bouncers’ on Kumble

Virat Kohli and Ravi Shastri’s pre-departure press conference ahead of India’s tour of Sri Lanka was a short and hurried affair. The BCCI’s media manager ensured there were no questions on Anil Kumble

cricket Updated: Jul 20, 2017 12:02 IST
India vs Sri Lanka,Virat Kohli,Ravi Shastri
India national cricket team captain Virat Kohli during a press conference in Mumbai before leaving for Sri Lanka tour on Wednesday.(PTI)

The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) made it clear on Wednesday that it wants to quickly get over the Anil Kumble controversy.

It was the first official media interaction of skipper Virat Kohli and new coach Ravi Shastri together, before the team left for the Sri Lanka tour on Wednesday. The interaction was supposed to be for 15 minutes, but was reduced to just 10 minutes for no apparent reason.

Many hands went up to get a chance to ask questions, but the opportunity never arrived for most. The haphazard and abrupt manner in which the press conference ended gave one the feeling that BCCI wanted to avoid Kohli having to field any question on Kumble’s unceremonious departure as coach despite emphatic performances by the team.

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Kohli had initially rubbished reports of a rift between Kumble and the Indian team, saying during the ICC Champions Trophy that there were “no problems” between him and Kumble, and the reports were just “rumours” created by the media.

That the captain and coach were not on talking terms and were not seeing eye-to-eye was evident even during the training sessions at the Champions Trophy.

While the Indian team left for the West Indies from London, Kumble stayed back for an ICC meeting and then announced he was not seeking an extension to his one-year term. Following that Kohli even deleted a year-old tweet welcoming Kumble.

Kohli has avoided publicly discussing Kumble’s departure and has insisted that would mean violating the sanctity of dressing room discussions not coming out.

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When Kohli was asked about getting his choice of coach and support staff, he said: “I think understanding and communication is something that works in every walk of life and the dressing room environment is nothing different.”

When Shastri was asked the same question, he said: “I will answer that same question wearing two hats and I promise you there is no conflict of interest here. One as a player and as a former captain, when you play the game you want your mind to be clear. You want to be able to focus inwards without a care in the world for anything on the outside and that happens with good communication with the support staff.

“Now, I will go on the other side as the head coach. My job is to do exactly that for every player, to put him in a frame of mind only about his role; he is thinking about the team that he is playing for and of course the opposition, which we always respect. That is his job, period.”

First Published: Jul 19, 2017 19:57 IST