New Delhi: Former India captain Anil Kumble strongly denied that there was any conflict of interest in he being the head of Karnataka State Association and National Cricket Academy and running a player management company, saying that his firm has no financial benefit from mentoring the cricketers.
Kumble is the president of Karnataka State Cricket Association as well as the chairman of NCA. He also wears the hat of a players` manager and runs a firm called Tenvic that mentors and looks after the commercial interest of several Karnataka players, including S Aravind and Vinay Kumar, who are both members of the Indian ODI team now.
"No! There is absolutely no conflict in my mind. The interest is the benefit of all these young cricketers. There is absolutely no commercial transaction which has ever happened so far. If commercially these cricketers have been benefited, there is absolutely no fee that Tenvic has charged even as of today. If somebody wants to take them up, please feel free," Kumble said.
"In fact, Tenvic has incurred cost. It`s an expense for the company in terms of mentoring these people. We have already conducted some psychometric tests, which incur a cost and that cost is to the company; it`s not to the player. And the benefit of all this goes to the player, nothing to the company," he said.
Kumble also refuted charges that he being the KSCA chief can influence players to join his company as that could benefit them in selection of state team.
"I am saying that the player is free to choose whether he wants to accept this mentoring role, which we are putting the expense on. The fact is commercially Tenvic has not benefited, nor will I sit as president of KSCA or any other (position for that) matter. I don`t need an administrative platform to influence a cricketer to join my company, nor do I need a commercial entity to approach a player," he told reporters.
Asked if the selectors would not be inclined to pick players who are mentored by Tenvic as he is the KSCA chief, Kumble said, "We have a managing committee. It`s not the president who appoints the selection committee; it`s the managing committee which appoints the selection committee. By saying this, you are easily casting aspersions on the selectors, saying that `Listen, they can`t do their job!`. That`s totally wrong!"
The former leg-spinner said that it was more of perception of conflict of interest than was there really one and even if there was one he has never exploited it.
"Yes, there is some perception going around that there is a huge conflict of interest. (But like I said, if I wanted to benefit, or if the company wanted to benefit, I have access to the Sachin Tendulkars, the Dhonis, the Yuvraj Singhs and everyone else, so why should I look at a youngster. That`s the last thing I want," he said.
"I can`t always go around appeasing everyone and saying, `Look this is a perception, so I need to be careful here`. I am saying there is no commercial entity here which is benefiting Tenvic.”
"In every walk of life there is conflict. It`s all about integrity. Do people exploit this conflict? Yes! I can put my hand up and I can tell everyone in the eye that I never exploit any conflict. If at all there is a conflict, I say that this is the conflict, but this is where I draw my line and then take those decisions," he added.
Asked about the talk of conflict of interest in him spotting talent not just as NCA chairman but also as a scout for Tenvic, Kumble said, "Tell me what`s the benefit of Tenvic in that? In what way? You are saying if a talent is spotted, it benefits Tenvic. It will only benefit the player. Tenvic is not benefiting commercially."
Kumble also said that he was not troubled by the talk of conflict of interest going around.
"No, I`m not troubled. People think that I`m troubled. It`s a wrong notion. Do I look troubled?" he asked.