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No-nonsense coach

Sentinel Digital DeskBy : Sentinel Digital Desk

  |  23 Jun 2017 12:00 AM GMT

The manner of departure of Team India head coach Anil Kumble has left a bad taste in the mouth for cricket lovers in this country. Here was a legend with a record of exemplary service to the cause of Indian cricket, a gentleman both on and off the field who represented his country much grace — now forced out after a whispering campaign about not being on the same page with skipper Virat Kohli. The humiliating loss to Pakistan in the Champions Trophy fil seems to have been the fil straw, with media reports about some senior team members being upset with coach Kumble’s ‘high handed’ dressing down, that he ‘scolded them like children’ in headmasterly fashion. The discord primarily boiled down to Kumble being a no-nonsense coach and being his own man. Sunil Gavaskar has surmised as much, asking in an interview whether Team India wanted a ‘softie’ who would allow cricketers to ‘go shopping’ if they are not in the mood to work out and practise. The problem for BCCI now is to go for a coach with sufficiently high stature and excellent track record, yet willing enough to kowtow to Kohli & Co. Granted that the skipper has to be the sole leader and there can be no undermining of his authority by the coach — but the Kohli-Kumble fallout reinforces suspicions that quite a few Team India cricketers are prima dons with egos to match. Yet it need not be so — the partnership between MS Dhoni and South African Gary Kirsten, or the stint of New Zealander John Wright come to mind. In between was the ugly spat between Sourav Ganguly and Aussie Greg Chappell played out in excruciating public view. It will be a tough act for the next coach to follow Kumble, under whose watch Team India clocked five Test series wins. How the BCCI, itself buffeted by gale force winds of reform, ensures a coach who delivers the goods while remaining invisible, will be followed keenly in the coming days. Virat Kohli, testosterone driven cricketer that he is, needs all the space to keep leading from the front. But whether India’s cricket administrators will be willing to build him up as the sole power centre remains to be seen, with talk of more money for cricketers looming in the background.

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