Is BCCI allowing Virat Kohli to decide everything in Indian cricket? COA Chief Vinod Rai gives clear answer
India were touted to be one of the favourites in this year’s World Cup tournament in England. The Virat Kohli-led side displayed a consistent performance in the format in away tours, winning limited-overs series in Australia, New Zealand and South Africa, and finished on top of the table at the round-robin stage, losing only just one match before the knockout stages. The men in blue, though crashed out in the semifinal, suffering a heavy defeat over New Zealand.
The COA chief Vinod Rai said that it would be “incorrect” to say that no one held Kohli responsible for the World Cup defeat. Speaking to Indian Express, Rai said: “It’s good to have checks and balances. When a team performs badly, I don’t think it’s only the captain’s (responsibility). There are a lot of closed door discussions… To say that nobody held Virat Kohli responsible for the (World Cup) loss would be incorrect.”
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Rai was heavily questioned by the newspaper on the opinions that Ravi Shastri was elected and re-elected as India’s coach before the World Cup on the insistence of skipper Kohli. Speaking on whether COA is “allowing the captain to decide everything”, Rai said: “We took charge on January 30, 2017. In April, when we happened to be in Hyderabad for the first match of the IPL season, Kumble’s contract was produced before me. Kumble’s contract, or rather selection as a coach, was for a two-year period. The person selected then did not find favour… So Kumble was selected, but he was given only a one-year tenure. Kumble’s contract did not have a clause for extension.”
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“The issue that came up was not so much about what happened in the dressing room… It was if we have to extend Kumble’s tenure, how do we do it? I was in favour of an extension if it was found appropriate by a certain committee. I said please follow the process. That’s all. And, what was the process? Call for applications, go through an interview process, and select the right person. You can call me ignoramus, but at the time I did not know what happened between the captain and the coach,” he added.
On being asked his opinions on Shastri as Indian team’s coach, he added: “Now, again, I don’t know how many coaches would have been superior to Shastri, but at least he has managed to keep the team fighting fit, battle-ready and cohesive in every respect. So I think he performed very well as a coach.”