Three weeks have past since India head coach Anil Kumble put down his papers owing to the 'reservations' that captain Virat Kohli had with him. But the saga that prevailed for over a month before Kumble's eventual departure continues to rumble on.
According a report by The Indian Express, the growing indifference between Kohli and Kumble and the eventual resignation of the latter led to a division in the dressing room. Players were forced to choose sides and majority of them opted to support Kohli. In cricket, understandably so, if there is a conflict between a coach and a skipper, the latter is the one who wins. Even Kumble, a former Indian skipper, realised it and stepped down. Lot of speculations were thrown around after Kumble's tenure ended. Some ex-cricketers empathised with the Indian captain, while some criticised him for not respecting an Indian cricket legend and believed that the matter could've been solved maturely.
"In the last few months, it was clear that things were not right between Virat (Kohli) and Kumble. There have been instances when, after an on-field session, Virat has spoken about tactics to assistant coach Bangar, even while Kumble was around. It was a way to undermine the authority of the coach. Initially, the team thought that maybe he gets along better with Bangar. Now when we look back, we see this as a sign of the Kohli-Kumble rift," a senior Indian player was quoted as saying to The Indian Express.
Even when Kumble was appointed as the head coach of the Indian cricket team in June 2016, certain experts noted the clash of similar personalities could lead to misunderstandings. But the results on the cricket field seemed to suggest something else, India prospered series after series. It felt like it was a match made in heaven until reports started making the rounds that Kumble was 'overbearing' and conducted himself as a 'headmaster' of a school. His rather strict nature didn't impress the players.
"Everyone says that he brought discipline to the team. But he was just building this perception about himself by using the media close to him. As if Virat and Ajinkya (Rahane) need to be told that they should wake up at 8 am and not be late for the bus. You name one player who wasn’t supremely fit before Kumble came in," questioned another player to the newspaper.
It was also learnt that Kumble, India's highest wicket-taker in Tests, shared a good rapport with some journalists and reportedly revealed the players' weaknesses to them. Though nothing notable of that sorts was reported during the successful home season, the damage had been done. The captain and the players started distancing themselves from the Indian coach and opened up to batting coach Sanjay Bangar.
This distance was evident from the fact that the Indian players weren't notified about Kumble's resignation until they landed in the Caribbean. If anything, the reactions after the incident made it more sour. While Kumble chose to issue an statement on Twitter and opened up about what exactly transpired behind the scenes, Kohli was firm on maintaining the 'sanctity of the dressing room'. This was among a few things that didn't go down well with the players.
If the Indian head coach candidates need any cues ahead of their interview with the Cricket Advisory Committee (CAC) on 10 July, that includes Sachin Tendulkar, Sourav Ganguly and VVS Laxman, there are a lot of them. The need of the hour for this Indian team is to have a man manager and not a disciplinarian. There is a reason why the Indian players thrived under Ravi Shastri's regime. He was someone who motivated the players during tough times and created a positive atmosphere in the dressing room. It won't be a big surprise, and all possibilities suggest that, if the Shastri-Kohli partnership gets reinstated in a few days.