Birmingham: "Great relationships have greater challenges", feels former Australia captain Michael Clarke. But no, he isn't playing agony uncle to anyone, this is merely his take on the speculated rift between India captain Virat Kohli and coach Anil Kumble.
"Any relationship in this world needs openness and honesty. It's no different in cricket teams where there is a captain and coach. You need to be honest," Clarke told PTI during an exclusive interview when asked about the alleged rift between Kohli and Kumble.
"There are bound to be disagreements but that can be sorted in closed environments. In any great relationship, you get challenged," he said.
While Clarke said that it will be unfair on him to pass a judgement on the Kohli-Kumble saga "without being a part of that change room", he shared his perspective on the broader issue.
"I know Anil Kumble, who is a wonderful person. A coach's job is to complement the captain sitting inside the change room. I can't assume what went wrong (if at all) as I am not a part of that change room," he said.
But the World Cup winning Aussie captain made it clear that cricket teams are run by captains as the buck stops at them.
"But let me make it clear, in crunch situations, it is the captain, who is going to be accountable. It will be Virat, who will be leading the team inside the field. He will have to put his hand up in pressure situations.
"In the end, it's a result-oriented game, where a captain will be judged on the basis of wins and losses," said Clarke.
Clarke, who is now a respected media pundit, then cited a beautiful example of a father-son relationship.
"Look, there are thousands of ways to skin a cat just like there is nothing called ideal parenting. Every parent have their own style as no two children are the same. It's no different in cricket also," said Clarke.
His style of captaincy was pretty different but he admires Kohli's passion and intensity.
"Virat is a fantastic captain. He competes hard and the way one leads the side is a reflection of one's personality. He has been tactically brilliant in this tournament so far," he commented.
He didn't get into the debate on the raging pay dispute between Cricket Australia and the national cricketers but spoke about mutual trust that is paramount in these situations.
"I don't know what transpired but certain things need to be sorted in private. Ultimately all of us want that this great game of cricket should grow but authorities should also be aware that they need to look after the benefit of players.
"Whether it's the BCCI or Cricket Australia, it's the same for both," said the owner of more than 16,000 international runs.
Talking about the Champions Trophy, Clarke said that now that Australia is out, he is expecting an India versus England final.
"It was a fantastic win against South Africa. No doubt India is playing some great cricket at the moment. I had predicted an India vs Australia final.
"But now that Australia are out, England is a contender for the trophy too. They deserve to be in final. For me, I reckon, it will be an India vs England final," he signed off.