We wish well to Indian cricket team. Let them win many tournaments, both at home and abroad. Let us hope and pray that the team ICC championships. Question arises how cricket administrators treat past great players who take up responsibility of coaching the team. Despite an attempt to clean up the way cricket administration works in India, we seem to be seeing the more of the same old story where power rules over performance.
Anil Kumble was hired as coach of Indian cricket team in 2016. He was selected based on presentation made about his vision for Indian cricket team. At the time of selection, Anil Kumble had made a presentation for two years, keeping in mind impending away from home tours. Yet, Kumble was given a one year contract. Under Anil Kumble as a coach, when Team India played 25 international matches and won 17 with 68% winning percentage. Anil Kumble had 70% winning percentage in 17 tests played. Anil Kumble was not allowed to test his ideas as a coach in foreign soil. In any other place, Anil Kumble probably had got an automatic extension, at least for another year.
Yet the strange ways the Indian cricket adminsitration works, BCCI asked for application for selection of a new coach. Though, Anil Kumble was allowed to reapply. All this happened when India was playing in Champions trophy in England. After Indian team lost in the final, Anil Kumble resigned. As per media reports, Kumble was informed that captain and players were not happy with Kumble’s style of functioning. Though Wriddhiman Saha, a team India player, has stated that dressing room was not tense when Kumble was coach. Apparently, players wanted more easy going and player friendly coach. It emerged in news media that captain Virat Kohli had wanted someone like Ravi Shastri as coach of Indian team.
Ravi Shastri had been Director of Indian cricket team from Aug, 2014 till April, 2016. Under Ravi Shastri, Indian team played 67 international matches with 52% winning percentage. In 2016, Ravi Shastri had also applied for the position of coach of Indian Team. Apparently, Ravi Shastri was not very happy for not being selected. He had lashed out at Cricket Advisory Committee, read Sourabh Ganguly, for ignoring his candidature.
Now, Ravi Shastri has become head coach of India. He has got a great salary, 7.5 crore. Shastri got bowling consultant of his choice. He now wants to return his favor to Sachin Tendulkar by appointing him as a batting consultant. Captain Kohli and Team India should be happy that they got a coach of their choice. A coach who is also fun loving. Poor Kumble, so out of sync with machinations of modern cricket.
There is no denying that captain should have a say in coach selection. Because captain has to get along with coach. My problem is why treat Kumble so badly? Kumble is a gentleman and legend on his own right. Does he have to be fun loving to be a great coach? Was there any flaw in coach’s strategic and tactical thinking? Wriddhiman Saha, a member of Team India, does not think so. Team performance for one year does not suggest that there was anything wrong with Kumble’s style of functioning. If captain did not like the coach, should captain also not take a few steps to correct his attitude? Did someone high and mighty played games to bring back Ravi Shastri? Was champion’s trophy final lost to show Kumble the door and bring in Shastri? By the way under Shastri’s directorship India lost in semifinals of cricket world cup in fifty over and T20 over formats. At least Kumble too team to final. Oops! Kohli did.