Has Virat Kohli become greater than Team India and cricket?

Ranit Das
Ranit DasJun 22, 2017 | 16:48

Has Virat Kohli become greater than Team India and cricket?

Anil Kumble resigned as Indian cricket team's head coach four days before completing one year in office.

17 Tests, 12 wins, one loss, three draws and one no-result. 13 ODIs, won eight and lost five. Five T20s, won two, lost two and one wash-out.

That's his record as India's coach after he took over the post on June 24, 2016. His contract was over after the ICC Champions Trophy but Kumble was all-set to get it renewed by the BCCI - thanks to a thumbs up from the Cricket Advisory Committee (CAC) comprising Sachin Tendulkar, Sourav Ganguly and  VVS Laxman. And deservingly so.


But, he dropped a bombshell just two days after the horrific 180-run loss to Pakistan in the final of the Champions Trophy. Kumble tweeted that he's going to step down as coach of the national team because Virat Kohli doesn't like his "style" of coaching.

Well, there were reports of a rift between him and Kohli but the latter came out before the first game of the Champions Trophy and squashed all of that, saying they were mere rumours. Now, you don't expect him to say that in the open before a major tournament but you believed him. Didn't you? Knowing that he's an outspoken guy.

But, three weeks later Kumble resigns and says he can't work with someone with whom he has ideological differences.

"I am honoured by the confidence reposed in my by the CAC, in asking me to continue as head coach. The credit for the achievements of the last one year goes to the captain, the entire team, coaching and support staff. Post this intimation, I was informed for the first time yesterday by the BCCI that the captain had reservations with my 'style' and about my continuing as head coach. I was surprised since I had always respected the role boundaries between captain and coach. Though the BCCI attempted to resolve the misunderstandings between the captain and me, it was apparent that the partnership was untenable, and I therefore believe it is best for me to move on," his statement said.


Where's the aggression now?

He went onto say that these are the key traits he brings on the table as coach - professionalism, discipline, commitment, honesty and complementary skills.

Well, well! Are these not the same things our captain talks about? Then how can you not like Kumble's style?

Reports said Kumble had blasted some of the players in the dressing room after the humongous loss to Pakistan at The Oval on June 18. He was aggressive and his tone was not liked by the players. But, isn't "aggressive" Kohli's style?

Hasn't he always proposed an "aggressive" brand of cricket? Then why can't a coach who throughout his life has given 100 per cent on the cricket field and taken the country to such great heights be so after a dismal show by his 11 players?

I've been following cricket since I was five or six and I understand how it works from when I was 10 and have been writing about it for the past year or two and of what I know about both guys is that they believe in playing "fire with fire". Then what's this sudden question of style Kohli is talking about?


Kumble was, is and will always be a stern person because he believed in giving his all for the country and failing his nation was just not acceptable. Who can forget the scenes at Antigua back in 2002 when he bowled with a broken jaw? That's what it meant to him.

I'm not questioning Kohli and Co's love for the country or their passion. No way! I'm not even saying they didn't give their 100 per cent on the field on June 18 - it was just a bad day and it's still a champion team but doesn't the frustrated coach have the rights to scold his pupils who put on such a bad performance against a spirited but weak team on such a big stage?

The coach was to be selected by the CAC and they decided to go ahead with Kumble after India's brilliant performances but he had to resign because the captain his unhappy with his stern nature. What the hell is that supposed to mean?

He's there to look after the team and help them, not a buddy to chill around and get paid - something which I feel Kohli and his men loved about former team director Ravi Shastri. A good brain and a trainer but a light-hearted and softer person.

The superstar culture

Kohli is the present and future of Indian cricket and there's no doubting that. He has done tremendously well in his eight to nine years of international cricket but that doesn't give him the right to nag around and take decisions that he's NOT supposed to take.

What's the use of a committee then? Just ask Kohli and the team who they want as coach. And give them that. Why pay or even waste the time of three of India's most decorated and great cricketing minds?

People will argue that it's Kohli's team and he has to play and not the coach. After a certain age, you don't need to coach the players but just guide them. Agreed. But, a good coach, a professional person and an excellent thinker can fine-tune the small things that make a player great. And who better than a man with 619 Test wickets to guide the young bowlers?

Can you really question the ability of the Indian bowlers now? For the first time in years they have been brilliant. Ravindra Jadeja and Ravichandran Ashwin are one and two in the rankings and I refuse to agree with anyone who says Kumble hasn't helped them much.

Like I said, Kohli is the all-in-all of Indian cricket now and he will be. He's the superstar and in India, you don't question them. Nobody's bigger. But with this move, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) played into Kohli's hands and it's not a good sign.

No matter how big you are, you're not bigger than the game itself. What better example than Jose Mourinho? Whatever Chelsea is today is because of Mourinho but the board took the tough decision and he was sacked after a dismal show towards the end of 2015.

The BCCI should have stuck to its guns and gone with the CAC because their choice clearly paid off the first time. They should have told Kohli - sit down, talk to Kumble and sort it out. Not that it would have been easy as Kumble has his reputation to look after as well but that should have been the message.

You don't change working combinations and it was a good combo but it's over before it could dominate - thanks to the superstar.

I'm a Kohli fan and I've been following him since the U-19 World Cup in Kuala Lumpur in 2008 but this stubborn attitude of our captain hasn't gone down well with me. I'm sorry but Kohli is not bigger than India and he should have sorted it out behind the doors and not forced the man who never gave up to walk away.

All said, it was a sad day for Indian cricket and I sincerely hope this will be thought about in the coming years. 

Last updated: June 22, 2017 | 16:48
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