Former Indian skipper Mohammad Azharuddin has suggested that the BCCI should be the sole body to appoint the Indian head coach with no interference from the captain of the team. The 54-year old has also expressed his disappointment at how Anil Kumble was treated during his tenure as the coach.
Anil Kumble stepped down from the Indian coach post in June and cited his untenable relationship with skipper Virat Kohli as the reason for his resignation. Mohammad Azharuddin, who had captained the Indian side that tasted a lot of success, knows a thing or two about the relationship between the captain and coach and backed Kumble for his decision.
Though India have already clinched the series against Sri Lanka which marks the Ravi Shastri era as the coach, Azharuddin was critical of the process involved in selection.
“I always feel the BCCI should be the body which appoints the coach. When I was playing, it never used to happen (this way)… you can’t pick and choose. The BCCI used to appoint the coach (and) it was not the captain’s prerogative. But now things have changed,” Azharuddin told Hindustan Times.
Kumble's position as the coach became uncertain after BCCI denied giving the leg-spinner an auto-extension and released a notification inviting fresh applications for the post. Later on, the Indian board extended the deadline which was reported as a move to let Shastri apply for the post because of his chemistry with Virat Kohli. While Azharuddin backed Kohli stating the skipper had all the rights to demand particular players he questioned the 28-year old's involvement in the process of coach selection.
“Captain is the main person in the dressing room because he runs the team and is the boss on the field. He should be given whatever he wants. Sometimes you want some players, which sometimes you get, sometimes you don’t. You can’t just say you can’t play since you didn’t get your players, you have to carry on.”
The 54-year old also lashed out at the BCCI for the way they treated the legendary spinner.
“I feel very sad for him. It is sad something like this happened to Anil. Knowing Anil, I don’t think he is that type (over-bearing or a hard taskmaster). Maybe, he thought it is better to be away from it than losing self-respect. He took the right decision.”
Kumble's one year stint with the team will go down as the most successful campaigns in the Indian cricketing history as the men in blue registered consecutive series wins against West Indies, New Zealand, England, and Australia as well as the one-off Test against Bangladesh and rose to the number one spot in the Test rankings.
“You do have ups and downs with the coach because every time you won’t agree with the coach or he won’t agree with you,” Azharuddin said, referring to differences between Kumble and Kohli. “There has to be the right balance. You have to work in tandem.”
Earlier, Shastri had claimed that his team had the potential to become the best team ever, given that his team had managed to win a Test series in Sri Lanka for the first time since 1993 when India last toured the island nation, in 2015. But Azharuddin feels that it is not right on Shastri’s part to be comparing teams of different eras.
“The Indian team in those days were different to the team now so it is unfair to compare. He (Shastri) was also part of the team in those days so he is also including himself. The bowlers were different, the opposition teams were different so it is difficult to compare between the two eras,” quoted Mohammad Azharuddin.