On June 18, Team India lost the Champions Trophy final. Two days later, Indian cricket lost as a whole.
On June 20, Anil Kumble resigned as head coach of the India team.
The man who once turned up to play for the country with a fractured jaw, showing courage and commitment, was told by the Indian cricket board that the captain doesn't want him anymore. Why? It's because captain Kohli found Kumble's style of coaching 'headmasterly'.
Since June 23 last year when Anil Kumble joined as the head coach, India have won 12 tests, lost one and drew four. In ODIs, the team won eight matches and lost five. In T20s, it won two and lost two - a success rate unrivalled by any other Indian coach in a one-year tenure.
If the runs were flowing for the batsmen and bowlers were taking bags full of wickets to win five test series on the trot and reach the top of the test ranking, then surely the team would have all the ingredients it takes to be a successful unit.
Perfect harmony is a myth. More achievable is a good, working relationship. Surely the disagreements between the captain and coach were not insurmountable. The board should not have allowed 'the partnership' to become 'untenable'.
Just the way a batsman and a bowler adapt to the nature of the pitch to perform, Kohli might have adapted to Kumble’s style of coaching if it was producing the right results. Wasn’t the team’s interest greater than his own views on the coach?
What’s baffling is why the cricket board didn’t ask the captain and the coach to find a solution where the style is not so ‘headmasterly’ and yet effective enough to make the players value rigour, discipline and commitment, which Kumble stood for.
What message does it send to the future coach if a legend is made to quit this way? What does it say about the board? And what does it say about Kohli’s ‘style’? It suggests that a coach’s impeccable credentials as a former player are not enough to keep his job, nor is his success rate as a coach. What matters is the captain’s views on the coach.
What Kohli may fail to realise is that Kumble’s resignation is a far greater failure on his part as a captain than the Champions Trophy. As a captain, Kohli not only failed to rise above the differences, he failed to trust the collective wisdom of the Cricket Advisory Committee, comprising legends such as Sachin Tendulkar, Sourav Ganguly and VVS Laxman, who were apparently in favour of Kumble. Captain Kohli may have won but Indian cricket has lost.
The views expressed in this article are not those of Reuters News.