COA chairman Vinod Rai says he didn't know Anil Kumble's contract was only for one year

Finally, after a month of confusion and formation of committee after committee, the drama surrounding the selection of the Indian coach came to halt on Tuesday. The BCCI cleared the air in a press conference and re-appointed Bharat Arun as bowling coach and named Sanjay Bangar as Ravi Shastri's deputy. R Sridhar was retained as the fielding coach. All these appointments will be till the 2019 World Cup.

But what seems to be a new twist in the tale, Committee of Administrators (COA) chairman Vinod Rai has said he was unaware of the conflict between captain Virat Kohli and former coach Anil Kumble. Stating that the relationship had become 'untenable', Kumble stepped down immediately after the Champions Trophy 2017. This statement by Rai now suggests that COA's communication with the various power centres in Indian cricket was next to negligible.

File image of Vinod Rai. AFP

File image of Vinod Rai. AFP

According to a report in ESPNCricinfo, COA, a Supreme Court-appointed committee, was not told that Kumble's contract was only for one year. As a result of this, when they were notified about the breakdown between Kohli and Kumble, it was too "late" to resolve the issue.

"I did not know about the conditions of Kumble's contract that it was for one year. I did not have the foggiest idea of whether there was any dissonance between the coach and the team in the dressing room. At the late time that we got to know it was only fair that we follow a process to bring about either a change or extend Kumble. It was quite evident that there was disharmony in the dressing room and that the team could not continue with it," the chairman of the COA was quoted as saying in the report.

Ironically, COA's decision to hasten the announcement of the Indian coach led to a number of embarrassing situations. Five candidates — Lalchand Rajput, Tom Moody, Shastri, Richard Pybus and Virender Sehwag — were interviewed by the Cricket Advisory Committee (CAC) on 10 July. After the interviews, Sourav Ganguly informed the media that the CAC had unanimously opted to take a few days and consult Kohli before naming Anil Kumble's successor. However, on 11 July, the COA asked BCCI to make the announcement immediately.

Thereafter, the Indian cricket board elected Shastri as the head coach and also hired Rahul Dravid and Zaheer Khan as batting and bowling consultant for overseas tours respectively. The appointments of Dravid and Zaheer was interpreted by the COA as exceeding of brief by the CAC and they set up a committee to review that decision.

When asked whether it was necessary for the COA to interfere in the process of coach's selection, Rai insisted that the Supreme Court had assigned the authority to them.

"Otherwise who would do it? The CEO? But we supervise the CEO. Left to myself, I don't want to be involved in any of these issues, but if it lands in our lap what do we do? The Supreme Court order says the COA will supervise the administration of the BCCI through the CEO. It also mentions that on the COA taking charge, the existing office-bearers shall also function subject to the supervision and control of the COA. Hence, we do have to assume the responsibility," Rai remarked.

But now the question arises, if so much responsibility was indeed entrusted on the Rai-led committee, shouldn't they have been more vigilant and get into the thick of the things before forcing breakneck decisions?


Published Date: Jul 19, 2017 09:14 pm | Updated Date: Jul 19, 2017 09:14 pm


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