The controversial chapter in Indian cricket concerning Anil Kumble stepping down last year as the head coach has been reopened with Diana Edulji, one half of the Supreme Court-appointed Committee of Administrators (CoA), revealing the BCCI had “broken rules” while appointing Ravi Shastri as a replacement. Edulji said that Virat Kohli, the India captain, constantly sent messages to BCCI CEO Rahul Johri about Kumble, which eventually lead to Kumble’s resignation.
Kumble stepped down as India head coach a year into the job after he was told by the BCCI that Kohli had “reservations” with his style of coaching and over him continuing in the role.
Kumble’s contract was a year-long one, till the 2017 Champions Trophy. The BCCI had already advertised the job in late May, just as India landed in England for the Champions Trophy. Kumble was one of the six applicants after the BCCI said he would be a “direct entry”. The entire process was overseen by the CoA and the Cricket Advisory Committee (CAC), comprising Sachin Tendulkar, Sourav Ganguly and VVS Laxman. At the behest of the CoA, the CAC met Kohli to patch up the differences amicably, but failed.
Nonetheless, the CAC informed the BCCI that Kumble was its preferred choice. Consequently, the BCCI extended the deadline and that is when Shastri applied and was finalised as the head coach till 2019 World Cup.
Edulji has now said that the entire selection process was fraught. Edulji’s revelations come as part of her disagreement with Vinod Rai over the appointment of an ad-hoc committee to pick the India women’s team head coach. While senior players like the T20I captain Harmanpreet Kaur and vice-captain Smriti Mandhana requested the CoA and BCCI to continue with the interim coach Ramesh Powar, Rai said players cannot pick coaching staff through votes.
Miffed at that comment, Edulji pointed to the example of Kohli playing the decision-maker during Kumble’s standing down. “Virat did not accede to Kumble continuing in spite of CAC saying so then why not these two players get what they feel is best for the team,” Edulji wrote to Rai in an email sent on Monday. The email, seen by ESPNcricinfo, was also marked to the three BCCI office-bearers along with several BCCI top management. “I see nothing wrong in women cricketers writing emails reg the coach,” Edulji wrote. “They were truthful in expressing their views unlike Virat who frequently sent sms’s to the CEO on which you acted and there was a change in the Coach.
“There also I had objected and my dissent is recorded when the timelines were extended for someone to apply as he didn’t apply in time. Mr. Kumble a legend in his own right was subjected to loss of face and made to look like a villain, he was gracious enough to move on for which I respect him. There also rules were broken and I had raised objections back then.”
In his response, Rai admitted Kohli’s hand. “Yes- there were differences between Virat and Kumble. As a consequence of that Kumble stepped back.”