Unhappy? It seems the Indian cricket board is rather angry with Virat Kohli and Ravi Shastri, says a former BCCI official when asked about his views on the latest reports suggesting Anil Kumble might be brought back as chief coach next month.
However, sources have also told IANS that the legendary spinner might not accept the offer. And the post may go to either VVS Laxman or some foreign recruit.
Two days after Indian skipper Virat Kohli announced he will step down from T20 captaincy duty after the ICC T20 World Cup, a major reshuffle in the upper echelons of Team India management seems imminent.
While Rohit Sharma is set to be handed over the duties after the T20 World Cup, it is being reported that Kumble and Laxman have been approached by the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) to take over from Shastri as the head coach.
Shastri has already hinted of his days at the helm of the Indian team being numbered as he isn't really eager to re-apply for the role once his current contract ends.
It is now also being heard that Virat and Shastri are facing the wrath of the BCCI, which is not happy with the way the duo managed the Indian team. One of the biggest criticisms of Kohli has been his decision-making that has played a major role in deciding the outcome of India's campaign at the ICC events.
Even some players within the team had complained that Virat was "unapproachable" when needed off the field, unlike MS Dhoni whose "doors were open 24 hours a day for teammates".
The former BCCI official, on condition of anonymity, told IANS that, "Jay Shah (BCCI secretary) was informed about all this through the people who were close to the team and he didn't like it. Jay Shah even consulted other officials. Some players were also being contacted and their views were taken.
"BCCI had been planning for long to clip their (Kohli-Shastri) wings. And it was started with the appointment of MS Dhoni as mentor (about which Kohli was not even aware) and also bringing R Ashwin back into the T20 side. Ashwin was not given a chance in the recently concluded Test series despite his experience. So, all these things somewhere made the officials unhappy or rather angry," he said, adding, "By plans to bring back Kumble (knowing past rift with Kohli), the Board is showing who's the boss. Yeah, Laxman was also approached. But Kumble is the front-runner only if he accepts the offer."
In its press release on Thursday after Kohli's decision to relinquish T20 captaincy after the T20 World Cup, the BCCI secretary had also stated that the Board has a clear roadmap for Team India. However, it will be interesting to see whether the legendary spinner, Kumble, agrees to join or he still has not got over his past -- the way he was treated last time.
A former senior cricketer, meanwhile, said Laxman has a good chance to take over as Kumble was a "failure". "He wasn't a good coach. He failed. I can't elaborate, you can check records for that. Even in IPL as coach of Punjab, he is still unable to change their fortune," he added.
Meanwhile, when MSK Prasad was contacted for his views, the former BCCI chief selector said that he will comment only after the Word Cup. "First of all, we should not talk about all this before the World Cup. Our focus should be to support our team to win the mega event. So right now, it is not the right time to say anything," Prasad emphasised.
Kumble was head coach of the team before he decided to step down in 2017 after reports emerged of serious differences with Kohli. A bitter fallout with Kohli led to Kumble tendering his resignation after the Champions Trophy final defeat against Pakistan.
Soon after Kumble's exit, Kohli had prevailed upon the BCCI, governed then by a committee led by former CAG Vinod Rai, to get Shastri as the replacement.
It is believed that BCCI president Sourav Ganguly had wanted Kumble to continue in 2017, despite Kohli's reservations, when he was a member of the BCCI's Cricket Improvement Committee (CIC).
Kumble is currently in the UAE as head coach and director of cricket operations for the IPL franchise Punjab Kings. And if Kumble agrees to come on board, he will also have to give up his IPL assignments - he is also the head of the International Cricket Council's cricket committee.
Before deciding to approach Kumble, the BCCI is learnt to have contacted former Sri Lanka captain and current Mumbai Indians coach Mahela Jayawardene with the offer.
However, Jayawardene is said to be interested in coaching the Sri Lankan team, and the IPL franchise. Some more foreign players have also been approached for the job. Even India's batting coach Vikram Rathour is also planning to apply.