Empathising with Anil Kumble, who resigned as India's coach last week, former India captain Sunil Gavaskar said the legendary leg-spinner was humiliated and the manner of his exit was "very sad". On June 20, two days after India's humiliating loss against Pakistan in the Champions Trophy final, Kumble decided to step down from the position of head coach blaming a breakdown in his relationship with captain Virat Kohli for his exit.
Kumble took to Twitter to explain his decision, saying he was informed by the BCCI that Kohli had "reservations with my 'style' and about my continuing as head coach." "Though the BCCI attempted to resolve the misunderstandings between the captain and me, it was apparent that the partnership was untenable," Kumble tweeted, "and I therefore believe it is best for me to move on".
Kumble said he was "surprised" by Kohli's stance "since I had always respected the role boundaries between captain and coach". He didn't fly out with the team for the limited-overs tour of the West Indies.
Kumble's one-year contract expired at the end of the Champions Trophy. Kumble achieved great success in his one-year tenure, despite little previous first-class coaching experience. India's highest wicket-taker led the team to the top of the Test rankings, after series wins over West Indies, New Zealand, England, Bangladesh and Australia. India won 12 of 17 Tests and lost only one. They won eight of 13 ODIs, and had a shot at defending the Champions Trophy crown.
Later during a press conference in the West Indies, Kohli said he respects Kumble's decision to step down as the head coach of the Indian team. "Obviously Anil (Kumble) bhai has expressed his views and he has taken the decision to step out and we will respect that decision."
Gavaskar, in his column for Sportstar, wrote: "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."
"The CAC (Cricket Advisory Committee) had reposed its confidence in Anil Kumble, and frankly they would have had a lot of explaining to do if they had not reappointed him as the Indian team’s coach. 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," Gavaskar added.
The Cricket Advisory Committee, comprising Sachin Tendulkar, Sourav Ganguly and VVS Laxman, has been tasked with finding Kumble's replacement. The appointment of India's head coach took a new twist on Tuesday as former team director Ravi Shastri decided to apply for the position and appears to be a front-runner a year after Kumble was favoured over him. Kumble had pipped Shastri to become India's head coach in 2016 after Ganguly, Tendulkar and Laxman batted for their former teammate.
Shastri will join Virender Sehwag, Tom Moody, Lalchand Rajput, Richard Pybus and Doda Ganesh - who have already applied for the position. With Shastri throwing his hat into the ring, it will now be a difficult task for the trio of Tendulkar, Ganguly and Laxman to overlook the former all-rounder this time as he shares a cordial relationship with Kohli and also with some of the other young Indian players.
Gavaskar opined that the team needs an elder brother and not a coach. "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."
He also said that the coach should never work according to the views of the players. "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."