Picture Credit: BCCI

Former IAS officer and BCCI chief Vinod Rai recently published his book called “Not Just a Nightwatchman — My Innings in the BCCI,” which has excerpts on the infamous rift between former India coach Anil Kumble and former India captain Virat Kohli. While speaking to the Indian Express, he talked about how Kohli felt Kumble’s ‘disciplinarian’ attitude intimidated the younger players.  

Rai was quoted saying, “In my conversations with the captain and team management, it was conveyed that Kumble was too much of a disciplinarian and hence the team members were not too happy with him. I had spoken to Virat Kohli on the issue and he did mention that the younger members of the team felt intimidated by the way he worked with them.”

Rai also talked about how Anil Kumble felt he was treated ‘unfairly’ and felt that his views should have been  ‘respected’ by other players. He said, “We had long conversations with Kumble after he had returned from the UK. He was obviously upset about the manner in which the entire episode had panned out. He felt he had been unfairly treated and a captain or team should not be given so much importance. It was the duty of the coach to bring discipline and professionalism to the team and as a senior, his views should have been respected by the players. ”

The book also includes a conversation between CEO Johri and acting secretary Amitabh Choudhary on this issue. “They felt that the differences were fairly severe and maybe it was only the CAC that would be best suited to have a thorough discussion with both of them. Soon, the CAC met in London and interacted with the two separately, in a bid to resolve the issue. After deliberations over three days, they decided to recommend Kumble’s reappointment as the head coach,” the former Comptroller and Auditor General wrote.

This conflict in Indian cricket ended with Kumble stepping down on his own and was described by Rai as “a bolt from the blue”. Kumble’s resignation letter said, “I was informed by the BCCI that the captain has reservations with my ‘style’ and about my continuing as Head Coach. I was surprised since I had always respected the role boundaries between Captain and Coach.”