Former Indian skipper Sunil Gavaskar believes that the attention Anil Kumble got from the media was one of the reasons why the Indian players became uncomfortable with his presence. Gavaskar also believes that this Indian team needs a manager more than a coach, given the kind of talent that it has.
Anil Kumble stepped down as the Indian coach on June 20th and confirmed the speculated rift between him and Indian skipper Virat Kohli as his reason for doing so, in an open letter to BCCI following his resignation.
Following the former leg-spinner's resignation, there were reports that the Indian players were unhappy with Kumble's demands of a regimented and disciplined lifestyle and Kohli had apparently voiced his opinion about the issue.
Now, former Indian skipper Sunil Gavaskar has shared his thoughts on the reported rift that led to Kumble's departure.
"The coach's job should never be dependent on the players' views, for they would always seek coaches who will listen to them rather than the other way around. One of the reasons why legends don't stay for long as coaches, especially in India, is because the current players become uncomfortable with the attention that the legend gets, while they sometimes get ignored. Thus the leaks to the media about the coach and his methods, which make the coach's position untenable, as Kumble found out and mentioned in his letter," Gavaskar wrote in a column for Sportstar.
Under Kumble's guidance, the Indian team tasted great success with consecutive series wins over New Zealand, England, Bangladesh, and Australia which saw the team rise to the number one spot in Test rankings. And Gavaskar who had earlier termed Kumble's resignation as a sad day for Indian cricket once again reiterated the point, adding that the former coach was humiliated by both, the BCCI as well as the Indian cricket team.
"What happened to Anil Kumble was sad, very sad indeed. The Indian cricket legend was humiliated, to say the least. No top player will want to throw his hat in the ring after what happened to Kumble. It is clear that the Indian players want people who sit back and do nothing rather than go-getters who get results," he wrote.
Further, the 67-year-old also backed the former leg-spinner for the manner in which he walked away from the post, saying, "....Then the BCCI stepped in and informed Kumble that Virat Kohli had reservations about his style of coaching. So Kumble did the only thing he could have and walked away with his head held high."
"Kumble could have also stuck around, but in an atmosphere where the skipper and maybe others in the team did not like his method of operating it would have been a tense situation every single hour. While Kumble, in his letter, has expressed that he was not aware of the skipper's feelings about his coaching style until the BCCI informed him, Kohli has chosen not to elaborate. He just said that dressing room matters should be left in the dressing room and not brought in the public domain," he added.
"This, of course, is absolutely correct and is something that has been followed for decades and not just the last few years, as the Indian skipper suggests. However, there is no explanation from anybody about how a dressing room situation came into the open that led to Kumble not accepting another year as the coach. Kohli, in his statement to the media, said glowing things about Kumble as a player but nothing about his performance as a coach. So that was a dead giveaway: he didn't want to say much about that aspect," Gavaskar wondered.
Finally, the original Little Master also shed light on whether this Indian team actually needed a coach, as he wrote, "Frankly, with such talent available, the team doesn't need a coach. It needs someone who can be like the elder brother who the players can relate to and confide in about their problems and be certain that these will be confidential and addressed sooner than later. The players need a manager who will keep them in check if things get out of hand, especially on overseas tours, and rein them in so that they are always in a position to perform to their best every single day they don the India colours."
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