Senior players in the Indian cricket team, led by captain Virat Kohli, are not happy with head coach Anil Kumble’s methods of guiding the side, a report by the Times of India on Tuesday claimed. According to unnamed sources quoted in the report, players were happier with former team director Ravi Shastri’s methods, with Kumble being referred to as “a hard task-master”.
A separate report on Tuesday in The Hindu quoted an unnamed official as saying, “People in the corridors of power have been told that Kumble is overbearing and doesn’t give freedom to the players.” Shastri, on the other hand, shared an excellent rapport with the players during his year-long tenure as team director.
Kohli and Kumble had differences of opinion during the India-Australia Test series, the reports said. Kumble had reportedly backed the inclusion of left-arm wrist spinner Kuldeep Yadav, which Kohli was unaware of and was taken by surprise. The report in The Hindu claimed that Kohli rejected Kumble’s proposal of fielding Yadav in the third Test of the series in Ranchi.
The Board of Control for Cricket in India’s Advisory Committee, comprising former greats Sourav Ganguly, Sachin Tendulkar and VVS Laxman, who had appointed Kumble head coach last year, have been given the responsibility of mediating between Kumble and the players.
Vinod Rai, the chairman of the Supreme Court-mandated Committee of Administrators, is also likely to meet the three-member advisory committee to discuss the matter. Kohli reportedly spoke with Ganguly to discuss the matter after India’s Champions Trophy warm-up match against New Zealand on Sunday.
This recent furore comes at a time when India are in the United Kingdom, seeking to defend their Champions Trophy title. On May 25, the BCCI caused some consternation when they posted a job opening for the position of head coach in the men’s cricket team. The BCCI had then clarified that Kumble would be a direct entry to the selection process, while Kohli said the Indian cricket board was following standard procedure.
However, amidst speculation that the BCCI was unhappy with Kumble for his part in leading a demand for a pay hike for India’s cricketers and support staff, an India Today report on Monday claimed that players were unhappy with Kumble’s “overbearing attitude”. On the same day, the Indian Express also reported that Virender Sehwag had been told to apply for the post with the COA being conveyed of the dressing room’s unhappiness with Kumble.