The former head of the BCCI Committee of Administrators (CoA), Vinod Rai, is clearing the air about the infamous story between former India captain Virat Kohli and former India head coach Anil Kumble. Media reports in 2017 always showed that then-captain Kohli and then-head coach Kumble had disagreements, but Vinod Rai has made it clear that he has not been noticed anything of the kind.
“It is not correct to say that there were differences between Virat Kohli and Anil Kumble. There were no differences between them. I just wrote that when it came time to renew Anil Kumble’s contract, we consulted the team and then Virat said that the junior members of the team feel intimidated by Anil Kumble because of his discipline. There was nothing like the difference between Kumble and Kohli. I did not have such information, nor did I write it,” said former BCCI CoA head Vinod Rai as he spoke exclusively to ANI. †
Vinod Rai also clarified that the decision to select a coach was not his responsibility, but the task of the Cricket Advisory Committee (CAC).
“The board has tried to convince Virat Kohli, but the selection of the coach is done by Cricket’s Advisory Committee (CAC). The CAC consisting of Sachin Tendulkar, Sourav Ganguly and VVS Laxman has only chosen Anil Kumble as coach before. I wrote this thing in the book when CAC was selecting the coach that you people had to talk to the team and the coach because we were outsiders, when senior players like Sachin, Sourav and VVS talk to the players then the impact is different and if we speak, then it won’t be that effective. So these three spoke to the captain and the coach,” explained Vinod Rai.
In 2017, the Supreme Court of India appointed former Controller and Auditor General of India Vinod Rai to a four-member Committee of Trustees (CoA).
“There is no doubt that Kumble was a good coach, we couldn’t have had a better coach than Anil Kumble and that is why Kumble was selected. The only misfortune was that Kumble got a contract for only one year and I just said that CAC was also reappointed to Anil Kumble, but the Kumble-Kohli issue had absolutely no problems at all. We have not noticed anything of the sort. I wrote in the book that this came to our attention in April and we took the lead on January 30. So, have we haven’t had a chance to see it in two months,” Vinod Rai told me.
The former Comptroller and Auditor General spoke highly of Anil Kumble the coach, calling him a worthy man.
“This is totally wrong and you say sources say these things. My book is not based on any source. It is based on my personal knowledge. So this is totally wrong. In fact, CAC re-selected Anil Kumble to name him as a coach and I wrote in the book that Kumble is more, more dignified and more professional so he said that even if I was recommended at the second time and if there are a few differences in the team I will only step aside said Vinod Rai.
Indian cricket went through a rough time after the IPL turmoil. In such a situation, the country’s Supreme Court had entrusted the responsibility of handling BCCI’s responsibility to former CAG Vinod Rai.
“We never had any problems, we only had one agenda that the game of cricket should continue and the mandate given by the Supreme Court to convince the state association and BCCI to adopt the new constitution,” Vinod Rai said.
“Two big things we did during our tenure, first we got full transparency on the board, where whatever decision we made we used to put it on the website. The minutes of the CoA meeting are still on the website and any expenses over 25 Lakh we used to put on the website all BCCI stuff became player centered because it never happened before that a player was consulted after they determined their compensation package we consulted the players in October 2017, we consulted them in December and established their compensation package after consultation with them,” added Vinod Rai.
After dealing with so many BCCI issues, Vinod Rai believes that the issues with BCCI President Sourav Ganguly and Virat Kohli that happened recently should have been managed in a better way.
“I have shared my personal experience in this book during my tenure and after that the only thing I wrote in this book is that the BCCI president is a former captain of India and a legend and a current captain and if you remembers once the team mentor was MS Dhoni So when you change the captain of a team then management, coach, mentor and board chairman speak to each other then the transition would have been smooth it happened twice and if you you remember when MS Dhoni handed over the captain then consulted with the chairman of the board and when he handed over both Virat and Dhoni were playing so the good thing was that a senior player was a former captain and he was the new captain Dhoni has repeated the same in CSK. He handed the game over to the captain while he was still playing and that is what should have happened,” said Vinod Rai.
One of the best things CoA was able to do was convince Rahul Dravid to join the National Cricket Academy as head of cricket operations as Dravid was busy looking after the India Under-19 cricket team at the time.
“Selecting Rahul Dravid was not a setback, but a great thing for us. We tried to select Rahul Dravid for the position of coach, but at the time he was coaching the Under-19 team and he didn’t want to change. So he declined that time, but when we approached him two years later that the position of NCA is in Bengaluru, you just don’t have to travel out, then he agreed and after three and four years, the team chose Rahul Dravid as their coach,” said Vinod Rai.
Vinod Rai also spoke about the split and feud between coach Ramesh Powar and Mithali Raj during the 2018 ICC Women’s T20 World Cup.
“Yes, I wrote that and Mithali, as we all know, is a very experienced player and she has been playing for 20-22 years and she carries the responsibility of women’s cricket on her shoulders. But if there is a senior player in the team and the team is going on a foreign tour, it may happen that a senior player is out of color or out of shape. So if the team captain, vice-captain, manager and coach sit together and discuss which winning combination then have to play it’s a very good thing and I have full confidence that if Mithali had been out of form she would have chosen it herself But to such an older player you are told before the toss that today If you don’t play, then it’s wrong,” Vinod Rai told.
“Look, I talked to the board officers and the CEO and GM of Cricket Operations spoke to both players and these two players came and spoke to us, then we got a sense that there are a lot of differences in the team, then we decided that coach should be changed,” Vinod Rai added.
Vinod Rai is a happy and content man after 33 months of leading the BCCI.
“There is nothing as such. All the decisions of the Supreme Court that we had to make, we made and only then did we hand over the charges,” said Vinod Rai.
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