Cricket

Revealing details of Virat Kohli-Anil Kumble rift by CoA during critical Australian tour is a big disservice to Indian team

  • Vedam Jaishankar
  • December 14th, 2018
  • 9:50:02 IST

Timing is the bedrock on which cricket flourishes.

For batsmen timing is ultimate for crisp strokeplay; for bowlers timing is a critical component of ball release; fielders need to time their dive or chase with arrival or velocity of the ball.

File image of Vinod Rai and Diana Edulji. AFP

File image of CoA members Vinod Rai and Diana Edulji. AFP

Selectors believe they have to choose or drop a player at the opportune time for optimum results. Even grooming a youngster and promoting him is all about getting the timing right.

That said the immediate question which defies answer is: Does the Committee of Administrators (CoA) have any sense of timing at all?

The duo increasingly perceived as dismissive and a law unto themselves, are sadly turning out to be a massive embarrassment.

Pray, what was the logic in revealing about the purported SMSes of skipper Virat Kohli just before the start of the crucial second Test against Australia? Does the poor skipper not have enough problems of his own to now be confronted with these allegations? Could these reveleations not have been deferred and the skipper thus spared embarrassment or bother? And why let everyone know that Kohli wrote text messages, complaining about Anil Kumble, as soon as momentum in the series had swung India's way? It was literally as good as handing over explosive ammo to the Australian media.

Was this not a deliberate attempt to upset the skipper's equilibrium, unsettle the team, throw it off balance and hand over initiative to the Australians? If not, why are these two supposed custodians of Indian cricket mindlessly washing dirty linen in public?

Strangely, their fight is over a committee that is to choose the coach of the Indian women's team for an event in late January. Even more intriguing is the demand that a couple of players want their chosen one to be the coach!

If these were not bizarre enough, Diana Edulji, one half of the CoA, shot off: "Virat did not accede to (Anil) Kumble continuing inspite of the Cricket Advisory Committee saying so. They why don't these two players (Harmanpreet Kaur and Smrithi Mandana) get what they feel is best for the team."

"The views of the two senior players must not be ignored," she mailed.

Of course she did not add that Kohli and Kumble were not on speaking terms and that this was hardly the sort of ideal captain-coach relationship. Instead she sent an absolute shocker of a sentence in her email to Vinod Rai: "They (Harmanpreet and Mandana) were truthful in expressing their view, unlike Virat who frequently sent SMSes to the CEO on which you acted and there was a change in the coach..."

This was a nasty jibe and the last sort of support that a captain looks forward to on a tough and challenging tour.

Actually Kohli and team would have been euphoric at having taken an unprecedented 1-0 lead in the Test series and would have been busy seeking ways to extend that lead. The charge that the skipper was "unlike truthful Harmanpreet and Mandana" would have come like a bolt from the blue for Kohli. Certainly, whatever else he could be accused of, Kohli not speaking his mind is unimaginable. Nor would he, in his moment of triumph and contemplation, have expected the rug to be yanked from underneath his feet by a responsible member of CoA.

Meanwhile, the other half of CoA, chairman Vinod Rai decided that if mud was being slung, he'd sling it right back:

"There were differences between Virat and Kumble. As a consequence of that Kumble stepped back. More importantly the team did not send emails. The team (women's) must realise that coaches are not decided on team votes."

Rai, now past 70 years of age, the age-limit set for cricket administrators, also shot back: "If it is a question of respecting opinions of senior players then why not respect the opinion of the senior-most player -in fact the ODI captain (Mithali Raj)? "

The exchange of mails, both leaked or otherwise, concerning the women's coach, Mithali, Rahul Johri, BCCI logistics manager Mayank Parikh and others are too well publicised to warrant repetition.

However, it must be pointed out that these charges and counter charges have reached such shameful proportions that former India captain Dilip Vengsarkar was compelled to point out that the happenings in BCCI were a concern to former cricketers.

"The appointment and sacking of the national teams' coaches shows that the administration in the Board is in a complete mess, and so is Indian cricket right now. The way it has handled things, the CoA has become a laughing stock," he said.

While that could be the case, what is perplexing is the dragging of the Indian team skipper Kohli into CoA's argument at this delicate moment on tour. If it was the CoA's version of scorched-earth policy it certainly needs to be condemned by every right thinking Indian cricket follower.

Sure, Rai and Edulji are welcome to have as many every dog fights as they want. But they also need to ensure that they protect and ring fence the Indian team and all its members at this stage of the tour of Australia.

The CoA must realise that timing is everything in cricket and them raking up old issues is not helping anybody, least of all our team.

Updated Date: December 14, 2018 09:50:02 IST

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