5 infamous coach-captain relationships that fell apart
Alas, putting to rest weeks of intense speculation and denial, the worst fears of the Indian cricket community came true last night, when news of Anil Kumble stepping down as Head Coach of the Indian Cricket Team broke through.
In a sharply worded statement shared on social media, Kumble thanked the Cricket Advisory Committee for backing him to continue, the team and his support staff for the achievements in his tenure.
But the anguish in his words was not to be missed as he revealed the captain’s reservations with his coaching style and admitted his further continuing as the Head Coach was not in best interests, as the partnership had become ‘untenable’.
However, while the unfortunate news comes as a shock to one and all, this was not the first instance of a coach-captain relationship souring and is surely not going to be the last of it either.
Reasons are aplenty, but one can safely say results are not always one among them. Coaching in international cricket goes beyond mere strategizing or technical inputs and is more a man-management challenge.
As a result, great players haven’t necessarily turned out to be effective coaches. On the other hand, many a low profile coaches have gone on to build successful careers.
In a team, if the captain paints its on-field fortunes, the coach is one who provides the canvas for it. Good chemistry between the captain and the coach is paramount to the success and harmony of a team and a break-down of that can be a point of no return.
Often, the relationship between the two snowballs into a clash of personalities when both, the captain and the coach, are similarly strong individuals. The history of cricket is dotted with examples.
Let’s take a look at a few such coach-captain feuds from the past.
#1 Sourav Ganguly and Greg Chappell
Greg Chappell, the former Australian batsman, succeeded John Wright in the 2005 season, ironically, at the behest of the then captain Sourav Ganguly. The former India captain had recommended Chappell’s name among other strong contenders like Dav Whatmore and Tom Moody, even though the latter had little coaching experience, unlike them.
Not long after he assumed powers, Chappell asked Ganguly to relieve himself from captaincy responsibilities and focus on his batting. The left-hander had been going through a lean patch, having not scored a Test century for almost two years.
The suggestion didn’t go down well with Ganguly as he threatened to leave the team in the middle of a tour of Zimbabwe. Later, an e-mail Chappell shot to the BCCI, accusing Ganguly of desperately trying to retain his captaincy, leaked.
Reports also started to emerge that other players too were unhappy with the sense of insecurity within the team. The Aussie’s tenure as the coach finally ended with India’s shameful exit from the 2007 ODI World Cup.