'Had Ganguly been the BCCI President in 2017, he'd have thrust Kumble down Virat's throat' - Vinod Rai

‘Had Ganguly been the BCCI President in 2017, he’d have thrust Kumble down Virat’s throat’ – Vinod Rai

Rai told that following his unfruitful chat with Virat Kohli on the issue, he had asked the likes of Sachin and Sourav to mediate between Kumble and the Indian captain.

Vinod Rai
Vinod Rai. (Photo Source: Twitter)

Former Indian captain and one of the greatest leaders of World Cricket, Sourav Ganguly took over the reins of the BCCI, becoming the first Indian cricketer to assume the post in the past 65 years. One of the first things that Ganguly said after assuming office is to clear the mess that has plagued the BCCI in the past three-four years.

With Ganguly at the helm, the mind can’t help but wonder what he would have done to resolve the ugly spat that engulfed between former head coach Anil Kumble and current captain Virat Kohli, had he been the president at the time (in 2017).

For the uninitiated, Anil Kumble had become the coach of Team India back in 2016 for a 12-month contract. However, the relation between the former leg-spinner and Kohli had soured to such an extent that Kumble refused to travel to the West Indies following India’s loss to Pakistan in the finals of the 2017 Champions Trophy. Kumble immediately resigned from the post, terming his relationship with Virat as ‘untenable’.

The former CoA chief Vinod Rai, giving insight into the matter, admitted that had the fallout happened today, Ganguly would have shoved Kumble down Virat’s throat. Rai admitted that he had too much respect for Kumble and since there was no extension clause, he had to fall back to the Cricket Advisory Committee- headed by Sourav Ganguly, Sachin Tendulkar, and VVS Laxman.

“Anil Kumble was the best coach available. If his contract had an extension clause, I would have extended it. I have too much respect and regard for Kumble. But since there was no extension clause and since I wasn’t equipped to decide, we fell back on CAC. We inherited the CAC, not created it,” Rai revealed as quoted by India Today.

Sachin and Sourav Ganguly were unable to persuade Virat

Rai told that following his unfruitful chat with Virat Kohli on the issue, he had asked the likes of Sachin and Sourav to mediate between Kumble and the Indian captain.

“I had a long chat with Sachin then and Sourav now. I met Sachin in Birmingham during the Champions Trophy—they were meeting Kumble and Virat—and I told Sachin I had a long chat with Virat (when he was in Mumbai and I was in Hyderabad) on the telephone. I barely knew Virat then. I told Sachin, ‘I felt he was not willing to accept that Kumble continues. So you people have a word with him. Coming from people of your stature, you may be able to persuade him’,” Rai added. 

According to Rai, Sourav Ganguly had told him that he had a long chat with Kohli but without any result. “I know Sachin and Sourav spoke to him. Sourav told me recently that they had a long chat with him. If they couldn’t persuade him how could I? Look, if there is a difference in the dressing room between captain and coach, who is more dispensable? Obviously, the coach. That’s where we got caught,” the CoA chief revealed.

Following the resignation of Anil Kumble, elections for the new coach were held where Ravi Shastri, who hadn’t even applied for the post within the given deadline, was asked to submit his candidature, resulting in him becoming the head-coach; a post he retained earlier this year for another 26-month period.

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