India's tour of West Indies 2017: Virat Kohli needs winning spree to overshadow Anil Kumble fiasco
Even before Indian fans could overcome their team's shocking loss in ICC Champions Trophy final, Anil Kumble stepping down as the coach came as another blow. While there were plenty of reports of a rift between the veteran leggie and skipper Virat Kohli, nothing was made official with Kohli denying them as mere rumours.
However, the fears came true when Jumbo decided to put his papers citing the ‘reservations’ which Kohli had with his style of coaching. Though it was a move which seemed inevitable over the last few weeks, what many didn't realise was the kind of support Kumble will receive post his exit. While cricket experts threw their weight behind Jumbo, fans lambasted Kohli for his arrogant attitude with some even demanding his sacking by the BCCI.
Situation would have been different had India won the ICC Champions Trophy final against Pakistan. Skipper Kohli's decision to bowl first backfired and he let the fans down by scoring five runs off just nine balls. Like he has done on numerous occasions in the past, the flamboyant Delhi batsman was expected to play a captain’s knock while chasing a huge 339-run target in the high-voltage encounter.
Kumble’s exit only added more fuel to the fire. Even though the three-member CAC panel comprising Sourav Ganguly, Sachin Tendulkar and VVS Laxman were in favour of extending Kumble’s contract after appointing him as Ravi Shastri’s replacement last year, Kohli’s veto power over the decision led to Kumble’s downfall.
Not to forget, Shastri was all set to be given a contract extension before Kumble made a late entry and not only bowled over the three-member panel with an impressive presentation, but also bagged the top job.
The Indian team might have disliked Kumble’s hard taskmaster approach, but what they cannot forget is how successful he was during his tenure. One of the greatest players to have played the game, Kumble, who is known for being a thorough professional, guided Indian team to 10 wins out of 13 Tests played at home which included two draws and one defeat. India also played 18 limited-overs games with Kumble as coach and won ten of them.
As BCCI’s search for a new coach continues, the challenge ahead of Kohli is to ensure that Team Indian continues to win tournaments and that he also contributes heavily with the bat.
Without Kumble, Team India’s first assignment is against the depleted West Indians.
Barring Jason Holder and leg-spinner Devendra Bishoo, none of the Windies players have the international experience required to trouble the Men in Blue. A lot has been said and written about Alzarri Joseph and it would be interesting to see whether the young pacer can stamp his authority in the tournament.
Even if the Men in Blue decimate the Windies in the limited-overs series, it wouldn’t be enough to pacify the fans – who now see Kohli as the culprit behind Kumble’s unceremonious exit.
Having said that, in a cricket frenzy nation like ours, the best way for Kohli to regain the love of the fans, is to produce positive results for the Indian team on a regular basis. The Indian skipper might have to repeat his incredible form from 2016 to overcome this beleaguered phase.
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