Anil Kumble’s appointment was questioned by Virat Kohli, says former BCCI secretary Ajay Shirke

“There had been some murmurs about this (Kumble-Kohli rift) even at the time of Mr Kumble’s appointment," Shirke said.

Ajay Shirke
Ajay Shirke. (Photo by Arijit Sen/Hindustan Times via Getty Images)

All seem to be not fine between present Indian coach Anil Kumble and captain Virat Kohli as mentioned by former BCCI secretary, Ajay Shirke. He indicated that Kohli was not in favour of Kumble’s appointment as the head coach from the very beginning. However, BCCI asked him to accept the choice made by its Cricket Advisory Committee (CAC) but gave Kumble a one-year contract.

At the time of Kumble’s appointment, it was the then BCCI president Anurag Thakur who mediated between the former Indian captain and the current captain to ensure they were on the same page before the start of tenure of the new coach.


Root of Kumble-Kohli rift

Shirke was the part of the selection process of the head coach last year and further in an interview with Indian Express said, “There had been some murmurs about this (Kumble-Kohli rift) even at the time of Mr Kumble’s appointment. At that time, our president (Anurag Thakur) had taken the initiative and had a detailed discussion with both parties, and it was decided that since the cricket committee (CAC) had recommended Mr Kumble as the best option, we should go ahead with that,”

“Therefore, I think the real reason for a one-year contract was that we would work and evolve, and see how this went, so as to keep the options open at a future date.”

“Let us say he (Kohli) had his own views about it. And like I said, our president, Mr Thakur, took the initiative and told him that this was the unanimous choice of the cricket committee and we would have to abide by their recommendation and Kohli should accept it,” Shirke said.

The Cricket Advisory Committee comprises of some legendary cricketers as Sachin Tendulkar, Sourav Ganguly and VVS Laxman the trio chose Anil Kumble over Ravi Shastri to take on as the head coach of Indian team. However, It was mentioned that Kumble didn’t fit into the BCCI-specified criteria for being the International Coach. But even then, he was included on the insistence of the CAC.

Shirke stated that Anil Kumble had called him and expressed his desire to be the Indian head coach after he (Shirke) became BCCI secretary. This happened before the initiation of the selection process.

He further went saying, “He (Kumble) did explain to me that he was extremely passionate about cricket and winning and so on, and he would like to take over that position. I made it clear to him that the appointment wouldn’t be based on anybody’s recommendation, that we have a process for it, and he should follow the process.”

As Anil Kumble’s one year tenure is coming to an end, the former BCCI secretary supports the invitation of applicants for the post.

“The captain may have a say in it, may have a view on it, but that view — it’s after all an individual view, although the captain is a very important part of the team — shouldn’t override the committee’s choice,” he concluded.