India were seen as one of the top favourites to win the World Cup in England this year. Under Virat Kohli, the Men in Blue played really well and finished toppers in the group stage with seven wins and one loss. But in the semi-finals, they tumbled and lost to a spirited New Zealand by 18 runs to leave the supporters heartbroken.
Even before the World Cup, India played some good cricket to win ODI series in South Africa, Australia and New Zealand; T20I series in England and Test series in Australia. However, as India dominated their opponents both at home and abroad and Kohli got the credit, critics also raised the question whether he was held as equally responsible after India lost the World Cup semi-final.
According to the chief of the Committee of Administrators (CoA) that runs the BCCI, Vinod Rai, it would be “incorrect” to say that nobody held the Indian captain responsible after the World Cup debacle.
“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,” Rai told the Indian Express.
He was asked about the theories that head coach Ravi Shastri was elected and re-elected on the insistence of Virat Kohli and whether the Indian captain was being allowed to take the final call on everything.
Rai has no idea about Kohli-Kumble episode
Rai said in response: “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.”
Kumble was the head coach before Shastri and he stepped down abruptly reportedly over a clash with Kohli. Shastri took over from him in 2017. Rai, however, said that he had no idea about what had transpired between Kohi and Kumble in the dressing room.
“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,” he said.
Rai also had his approval for Shastri as the head coach as he said the latter succeeded in making the team “fit, battle-ready and cohesive in every respect”.
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