LONDON: Anil Kumble stepped down as India coach on Tuesday amid reports of differences with skipper Virat Kohli, leaving the team heading to the West Indies for a short tour without a coach.
Kumble’s decision came after some drama in London where he did not join the squad for the flight to the Caribbean on Tuesday morning. It was initially suggested he stayed back to chair a 2-day ICC meeting before the BCCI clarified. “The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) confirms that Mr Anil Kumble has withdrawn his services as the post of the Head Coach for the Senior India Men’s team,” the Board announced in a tweet on Tuesday.
“While the Cricket Advisory Committee (CAC) had endorsed an extension to his tenure as Head Coach, Mr Anil Kumble has decided not to continue as the coach,” the statement added.
It announced that MV Sridhar, GM-Cricket Operations, will supervise the team during the limited-overs series of the West Indies starting on June 23.
Kumble had a successful oneyear tenure since he was appointed in July 2016 to succeed Ravi Shastri. However, his position became shaky following reports of rift in the dressing room ahead of the Champions Trophy, where India lost to Pakistan in the final on Sunday.
Doubts whether India’s most successful Test bowler would get an extension grew after the BCCI announced the process to find a coach on May 25, six days before the major tournament.
There were reports that Kohli and some other players were opposed to Kumble due to his “intimidating” style. Attempts at a patch-up in London during the tournament were unsuccessful.
The CAC of Sachin Tendulkar, Sourav Ganguly and VVS Laxman, which selected Kumble, met him and Kohli in London and is said to have told BCCI bosses the differences were irreconcilable .
Under Kumble, India clinched the series in the West Indies 2-1 followed by success at home against New Zealand, England and Australia, besides a one-off Test against Bangladesh. India won 10 of the 13 home Tests, drawing two games with the only loss coming against Steve Smith’s Australia in the 2-1 series win.
Kohli and Kumble reportedly met BCCI acting secretary Amitabh Choudhary, CEO Rahul Johri and GM MV Sridhar in London on Monday in an unsuccessful final bid at reconciliation.
Ravi Shastri, who was team director from 2014 to mid 2016, was heavily critical of Ganguly after he was not retained.
Referring to the controversy, former India wicketkeeper, Farokh Engineer, told HT in London: “India doesn’t need a coach. They need to rename that role to something like a cricket manager. Kohli needs a good man manager, not a headmaster.”