Vinod Rai’s tenure as the chief of the Supreme Court-appointed Committee of Administrators ended on Wednesday as an elected office-bearers took charge of BCCI. In his three years in the position, Rai and the CoA were tasked with overseeing the functioning of the BCCI and had to see through several tumultuous moments in Indian cricket.
Perhaps the most controversial was in 2017 when the then coach Anil Kumble and captain Virat Kohli had a falling out which led to the former’s resignation.
In an interview with Hindustan Times, Rai revealed a lot more detail about what transpired between the two.
For weeks before and during the Champions Trophy in England, there was speculation of a rift between the two. India went on to lose the final to Pakistan, after which the former India leg-spinner announced his resignation. Notably, Kumble had decided not to continue as coach despite the BCCI’s Cricket Advisory Committee endorsing an extension to his tenure.
Now, Rai said that even CAC members Sachin Tendulkar and Sourav Ganguly were unable to convince Kohli to let Kumble continue.
“...I wasn’t equipped to decide, we fell back on CAC. We inherited the CAC, not created it. I had a long chat with Sachin then and Sourav now. I met Sachin in Birmingham during the Champions Trophy – they were meeting Kumble and Virat – and I told Sachin I had a long chat with Virat [when he was in Mumbai and I was in Hyderabad] on telephone. I barely knew Virat then. I told Sachin, ‘I felt he was not willing to accept that Kumble continues. So you people have a word with him. Coming from people of your stature, you may be able to persuade him’,” Rai told Hindustan Times.
Rai added: “I know Sachin and Sourav spoke to him. Sourav told me recently that they had a long chat with him. If they couldn’t persuade him how could I? Look, if there is a difference in the dressing room between captain and coach, who is more dispensable? Obviously, the coach. That’s where we got caught. Dirty linen got washed in public. Ramachandra Guha resigned.”
The outgoing CoA chief also referred to a similar fall-out between Mithali Raj and Ramesh Powar at the Women’s World T20.
“If this had happened today, Sourav would have thrust Kumble down Virat’s throat. But it could have created more tensions. I respected Kumble because he walked out,” Rai concluded.
Read the full interview here