Free Press Journal

Has Virat Kohli been unfairly targeted over Anil Kumble resignation saga?


Indian cricket is in the news for all the wrong reasons, and it has nothing to do with on field performance, but it is largely on the front pages of newspapers for off-field developments. Anil Kumble, former Indian captain and head coach created a massive furore, resigned on Tuesday as in his words his position had become ‘untenable’. Kumble has been receiving support left, right and centre and inversely Virat Kohli, captain of the team has been getting flak unnecessarily over the entire saga.

Mature reaction to Kumble query

India, the defending champions left for England to take part in the ICC Champions Trophy and the first thing Kohli was asked was about when he landed on English shores was the discontent with the coach (Kumble). Kohli rightfully said that there could be differences of opinion but team is on one page and their focus is on winning the Champions Trophy. Kohli has never publicly talked about his issues and grievances with Kumble and has said that they (team) respect Kumble as a player and also emphasised on dressing room sanctity and said that discussion within those four walls should remain private.

Virat Kohli is an extremely competitive and emotional individual. He likes to win at any cost and can get carried away sometimes. Kohli, being the perfectionist that he is would be the first one to enter net practice and would as usual last person to leave practice. The relationship between coach and captain is based on mutual trust and respect.

Cricket is a game unlike football and rugby, where captain is responsible for all on field decisions and the wins and losses go against captain’s name. Kumble might have broken that code and in doing his job might have over stepped his bounds. Sourav Ganguly, Greg Chappell, Shane Warne, John Buchanan, Kevin Pietersen, Andy Flower are some of the names that come to mind, where there was friction between coach and players and invariably it was coach, who was to blame.

No question of questioning integrity

Kohli is not perfect and he would be the first one to admit, but questioning his integrity and character is taking it too far. The Delhi dasher has publicly backed players such as Rohit Sharma, Ravichandran Ashwin (his contemporaries and contenders for captaincy) and gone on record to say about their importance to the team and what they bring to the table.

Pakistan’s tainted speedster Mohammad Amir also received special praise from Kohli (unexpected, right?) last year during Asia cup and after the final at The Oval (India losing by 180 runs), he publicly congratulated Pakistan team and accepted that they were the better team on the day. This is the same individual, who not long after cremating his father returned to field to save match for Delhi in the Ranji trophy against Karnataka.

Also read: Kumble-Kohli rift: Ex-players react with shock, surprise

Anil Kumble saga has been damaging to Virat Kohli, but Kohli should be given chance to present his side of the story as well. Indian team won handsomely through last year in all formats and Kohli, who had scored four Test double centuries (West Indies, Antigua; New Zealand, Indore; England, Mumbai; Bangladesh, Hyderabad) in four consecutive series should be given his due as well.

The controversy shouldn’t have happened and the entire incident is a blemish on Indian cricket. India are currently in Caribbean for a short limited overs tour and Kohli would hope that cricket would again take centre stage and he silences his critics and naysayers with bat in his hand.