Kumble leaves with a “dressing-down”

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A flare-up in the dressing room immediately after the Champions Trophy final may have been the final act of Anil Kumble’s tumultuous final weeks as India coach. According to insiders, Kumble, who stepped down as India coach on Tuesday, gave a “dressing-down” to one of his players at The Oval on Sunday, moments after Pakistan had completed a 180-run win to seal the title.

Debriefings are part of the coach’s job and it was natural for Kumble to have been disappointed after the crushing defeat. But a BCCI official said his timing was not right.

“After the final he gave a big dressing-down to the player,” the official said. “There is a time for everything. Team has just lost. They are down. You come and [give the dressing down].” Asked about this, Kumble declined to comment.

The morning after the final, when Kumble met the BCCI top brass, he was told of the reservations the players, including captain Virat Kohli, had with regards to his approach. In his parting note, which he released on Twitter on Tuesday, Kumble said it was the first time he had been told of these differences. Yet, others in the know insist that the relationship between Kohli and Kumble had become dysfunctional over the last few months.

On Tuesday, when the India squad left for the Caribbean to play a limited-overs series against West Indies, Kumble stayed back in London to participate in the ICC’s chief executives committee meeting, where he sat as chairman of the cricket committee. Although Kumble’s year-long contract ended with the Champions Trophy, the BCCI had given him an extension until the end of the West Indies series.

“Kumble had accepted to travel to the West Indies, but that was subject to resolving the differences,” the BCCI official said. Incidentally the BCCI had booked a room in his name in the team hotel in Trinidad, where India start the five-match ODI series on June 23. Kumble was meant to land on Thursday.

Kumble had been recommended by the BCCI’s three-man cricket advisory panel comprising Sachin Tendulkar, Sourav Ganguly and VVS Laxman. Despite not having any formal coaching experience, the CAC felt Kumble had the right credentials for the job, and offered him the job ahead of candidates such as Ravi Shastri, who had been the India team director for two years.

Before the Champions Trophy, the BCCI decided to invite fresh applications instead of extending Kumble’s contract. The job was advertised the day India landed in England (May 25) to start their Champions Trophy campaign. Asked if he agreed with the BCCI’s decision, Kohli simply said the BCCI was following its usual processes. Later on, during the tournament, he denied any rift within the team, saying there were “no issues whatsoever”. BCCI secretary Amitabh Choudhary, meanwhile, said the friction between coach and players was solely in the “realms of imagination” of the media. (ESPNCricinfo)

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