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Ramachandra Guha’s letter ill-timed, fresh lows for BCCI after Kumble-Kohli spat

Ramachandra Guha’s letter following his resignation as member of the Committee of Administrators is a case of poor timing and it threatens India’s focus ahead of key clash against Pakistan in the ICC Champions Trophy 2017 .

icc champions trophy 2017 Updated: Jun 03, 2017 11:57 IST
N. Ananthanarayanan
N. Ananthanarayanan
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Ramachandra Guha,Anil Kumble,Virat Kohli
The on-going spat between Anil Kumble and Virat Kohli, combined with Ramachandra Guha’s explosive resignation letter, threatens to disrupt India’s focus ahead of the ICC Champions Trophy 2017 clash against Pakistan in Edgbaston.(AFP)

Indian cricket officials love to set off fires around them. But the latest ‘leakgate’ that has ignited differences between skipper Virat Kohli and coach Anil Kumble could engulf them if holders India are too distracted and lose to Pakistan in the ICC Champions Trophy at Edgbaston on Sunday.

Journalists who have spent hours in hotel lobbies in the past awaiting some driblet of news from Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) meetings will be all too familiar of cricket bosses stoking the fire and steering them in a direction that ends in their favour.

Still, for sheer poor timing nothing can match the current crisis stoked on the eve of a major tournament, built through comments from unnamed cricket Board officials that the India skipper is reluctant to work with Kumble, though the former skipper and country’s leading Test bowler is only a year into his job and has presided over some memorable wins.

Fresh Muddle

Ramachandra Guha, the cricket historian and author, has only added to the muddle through his ill-timed listing of all that the four-member Committee of Administrators (CoA) from which he quit didn’t take on board to reform the cricket Board.

Ramachandra Guha has accused the BCCI and the Committtee of Administrators of being mute spectators to the Anil Kumble-Virat Kohli spat. (Hindustan Times)

The timing of his resignation suggests the Kumble affair has influenced his decision. And until one of the prime characters involved speak out, one can only go by what Kumble has achieved so far as coach.

There seems to be feverish activity around the team in Birmingham, 48 hours before the Pakistan game when the Indian brains trust should be focused entirely on tactics to get the game out of the way. And Cricket Advisory Committee members Sachin Tendulkar and Sourav Ganguly reportedly seeking the team’s feedback on Kumble, it appears one clumsy effort to handle the crisis.

Chappell vs Ganguly - II?

BCCI officials have already damaged the institution’s image through leaks on how Kumble has upset many players, raising the Greg Chappell versus Sourav Ganguly saga of a decade ago all over again.

The CoA, appointed in January, is struggling to fix the administrative structure and rid those who are either ineligible or face conflict of interest issues.

Guha has in an exhaustive letter to the CoA chief, Vinod Rai, said why he has resignation, and raised concerns that players having a say on the coach’s appointment would give rise to ‘a superstar culture gone berserk’.

Guha has raised many valid issues. But not pushing the CoA to act on it, and instead putting it out in the public domain, he may have, for all his good intentions, only eroded the credibility of the forum he was a part of till a few days ago.

Virat Kohli, on the other hand, has every right to flag issues he feels can hurt the team. However, the manner in which the issue is dominating the start of India’s fresh season, and on the eve of a major event, will only give rise to fresh criticism of his prima donna behaviour.

Indian cricket has not had a bigger power than Sachin Tendulkar. But even during his lowest moments --- when he gave up captaincy after the second stint and then had issues with Greg Chappell -- he never indulged in power games that could have affected the team and the image of the Indian cricket team.

First Published: Jun 03, 2017 11:49 IST