Wednesday, 8 December 2021

Anil Kumble steps down as India coach


Anil Kumble has stepped down as India coach, four days before the limited-overs tour of the Caribbean begins.

The decision comes less than a month after it emerged that players, including captain Virat Kohli, had told BCCI officials that they were uncomfortable with the “intimidating” style of Kumble’s man management. As a result, despite India’s success in Kumble’s first year in charge, the board advertised for fresh interviews for the head-coach’s position instead of extending his contract.

It is understood that, before Kohli departed for the Caribbean, he met the BCCI’s top brass along with Kumble in London. The meeting was attended by BCCI secretary Amitabh Choudhary, board chief executive officer Rahul Johri and MV Sridhar, general manager of cricket operations. The meeting was necessitated after the three-member cricket advisory committee (CAC), charged with finalising who will be coach, informed the BCCI that it had failed to resolve the impasse between Kohli and Kumble.

The BCCI had received six applications including that of Kumble for the fresh interview process. But, considering it was the CAC – comprising Sachin Tendulkar, Sourav Ganguly and VVS Laxman – that had recommended and shortlisted Kumble as the final choice last year, it still felt he remained the first choice for the head-coach position going forward. However, given the current relations, it is understood that the CAC did not meet Kumble at all after it was asked by the BCCI to make the final choice. “The differences seem irreparable,” a board official, who is privy to the discussions, said. He said that Kohli was not ready to take a step back.


Once the CAC realised the relationship was beyond repair, it asked the BCCI to take the negotiations process forward. “It was not a pleasant meeting,” the board official, who has knowledge of Monday’s meeting, said. According to this official Kohli remained “adamant” about his stand, which might have helped Kumble make up his mind.

“The CAC is likely to have told BCCI that the differences were not cricketing related but more of a personal nature,” the official said. “If he were to stick on, it would be very awkward on Anil’s part. It is not good to handle someone as big as Anil in this manner.”

Kumble’s one-year contract officially ran out at the end of the Champions Trophy – India played the final on Sunday – but it was understood that he would remain India’s coach for the West Indies tour while the CAC finalised who would be in charge going forward. While the India squad left for the Caribbean early on Monday morning, Kumble stayed back in London. As chairman of the ICC’s cricket committee, he is attending the chief executives committee meeting in London.

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