Former selector Vikram Rathore has defended Virat Kohli in the saga with Anil Kumble that led to the former coach's departure. Rathore said that the Indian captain can’t be blamed if he wasn't able to work with Kumble and one should not make the 28-year-old a bad guy for speaking his mind.
Kumble stepped down as the Indian coach on Tuesday and revealed a strained relationship with Indian skipper Kohli as the reason for his resignation. Since then, the Delhi batsmen has faced a backlash from various former cricketers, but he has finally found some support in the form of ex-selector Vikram Rathore.
"You can't make a villain out of Kohli after Kumble resigned from head coach position because the captain spoke his mind. He just expressed his thoughts over Kumble's style of working and that snowballed into a huge controversy. This is after all between the two best players. The episode could have been handled better. There was a difference of opinion," Rathore said as quoted by TOI on Saturday.
For a short while, Rathore had worked with both Kohli and Kumble during the last tour of West Indies. And the 48-year-old clarified that he wasn’t too surprised about the rift between the duo. "This is not the first time that a spat between coach and captain has happened. I was part of the West Indies tour last where I saw both Kohli and Kumble working together. I didn't see anything then but it was early days," he said and added that both captain and coach have a say in final team selection while the selectors are just there to pass on their suggestions.
Further, given that Indian coaches have a good track record of coaching the national cricket team, Rathore has advised that even the incoming coach should be a homegrown one. "The Indian coaches have been doing well with the team. Before Kumble came, Ravi Shastri did a good job with the team. Even Kumble's record as a coach was impeccable. Therefore, it's important to continue with an Indian coach," he said.
Finally, the former Indian opener also advised that Kumble’s services could be used for administrative purposes. "Kumble should now be a part of the administrative set-up and in a director's role to guide Indian cricket. It should be good for BCCI," Rathore said.
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