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Sourav Ganguly backs Virat Kohli in rift with Anil Kumble

30 Jun 2017, 23:05 IST
Sourav Ganguly India Cricket
Ganguly feels that cricket is a captain’s game and a coach is only someone who can help the team along

What’s the story?

While the controversy surrounding Anil Kumble’s resignation following a difference of opinion with skipper Virat Kohli was finally looking like coming to an end, Sourav Ganguly has stirred up a controversy of sorts by suggesting that Kumble should have handled the situation in a better way. 

The former Indian skipper gave due credit to the spin legend for delivering results on the pitch but added that he should have allowed Kohli to have his way, as the captain always assumes more importance than the coach in cricket. 

"I think cricket is a captain's game. A coach should be someone who can help and get the team going,” Ganguly said. “We thought Anil would handle it properly, having played at the top level for so many years and becoming successful."

Ganguly, along with former teammates Sachin Tendulkar and VVS Laxman, is part of the three-member Cricket Advisory Committee (CAC) who had appointed Kumble in the first place. The Committee has been entrusted with the job of selecting India’s next coach as well. 

A highly-publicised spat with Ravi Shastri last year and reports of a two-line CV by Virender Sehwag notwithstanding, Ganguly said that it is difficult to name a frontrunner at the moment in the race for the new Indian head coach and added that the CAC will discuss the pros and cons of all the candidates before finalising the selection. 

"I've seen Sehwag's CV and it's not a two-liner one. He has a complete CV. So I don't think it's an issue. We will sit, talk and finalise. Difficult to take a name at the moment," he said. 
“Whoever is good will get the job, be it Shastri, Sehwag or someone else. We will take an opinion and decide."

In case you didn’t know...

Along with Shastri and Sehwag, the likes of Tom Moody, Richard Pybus, Lalchand Rajput and Dodda Ganesh have already applied for the post of the next Indian head coach while the BCCI has extended the deadline for filing applications till July 9 following the resignation of Kumble shortly after the 2017 Champions Trophy. 

BCCI general manager M.V. Sridhar is supervising the team management for the West Indies tour where the Indian team are currently playing a five-match ODI series followed by a lone T20I. Meanwhile, Sanjay Bangar and R Sridhar have continued their association with the team as the batting and fielding coaches, respectively.

Extra Cover: New coach should get along with captain Virat Kohli, hint BCCI officials


The heart of the matter

With an ill-fated association with then coach Greg Chappell during his final days as skipper of the Indian team, Ganguly knows what the atmosphere would have been like in the dressing room when Kumble and Kohli started drifting apart despite immense success on the field.

Ganguly cited man-management skill and the ability to handle difficult situations as the most important factors for a good coach and added that the CAC will be laying an emphasis on these two factors when they sit down and discuss the viability of the candidates in the running for the head coach role.  

The 44-year-old said that difference in opinions between individuals are part and parcel of the sport but what is important is that the concerned people look at the bigger picture and compromise for the betterment of the team. 

He expressed his disappointment that Kumble and Kohli couldn’t do so but added that it is time to look forward rather than dwell on the past. 

What’s next?

Ganguly and Shastri were involved in a public spat last year following the former’s absence from the interview panel when Shastri was giving his presentation for the role of head coach in 2016.

However, Ganguly said that the best person among the lot will get the job based on their skills and potential and not just on how well they make their presentation. 

Extra Cover: Rahul Dravid to continue as India A and U-19 coach for next two years

Author’s take

Ganguly is not someone who steers away from voicing his opinion but as someone on the CAC that is set to take a call on the next Indian head coach, he could have perhaps refrained from making such comments, especially at a time when the controversy surrounding Kumble’s resignation is slowly dying down. 

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