Reopening the controversy concerning former captain Anil Kumble's exit as the Indian men's cricket team head coach, the Supreme Court-appointed Committee of Administrators (CoA) member Diana Edulji has claimed that the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) had breached the rules by replacing the former with Ravi Shastri after coming under pressure from current skipper Virat Kohli.
In an email sent to CoA chairman Vinod Rai, Edulji wrote that Kohli had repeatedly sent messages to BCCI CEO Rahul Johri expressing his reservations about Kumble's coaching style, something which eventually caused Kumble to tender his resignation.
Kumble's one-year term as the head coach of the Indian men's cricket team came to a controversial end following the side's shocking 180-run defeat against arch-rivals Pakistan in the Champions Trophy final at the Oval on June 18, 2017.
Revealing the reason behind his surprising move, Kumble had written on his official Twitter handle that the Indian skipper had reservations about his work 'style' as well as his extension as the head coach and this prompted him to resign.
Notably, prior to the commencement of the Champions Trophy, the BCCI had invited fresh applications for the post of head coach, with Kumble being a direct entry into the coach selection process. The others who had applied for the post were Virender Sehwag, Tom Moody, Richard Pybus and Lalchand Rajput among others.
However, the country's cricket board later decided to extend the deadline, which eventually saw Shastri apply for the post and being finalised as the head coach till the 2019 World Cup.
Describing the entire selection process as fraught, Edulji said that Kohli played the decision-maker in Kumble's resignation.
"Virat did not accede to Kumble continuing in spite of CAC saying so then why not these two players get what they feel is best for the team," ESPNcricinfo quoted Edulji as saying in a letter addressed to Rai and top officials of the BCCI on December 11.
Pointing out that she objected when the deadline was extended back then, Edulji further said that a legend like Kumble was made to look like a "villian".
"There also I had objected and my dissent is recorded when the timelines were extended for someone to apply as he didn't apply in time. Kumble a legend in his own right was subjected to loss of face and made to look like a villain, he was gracious enough to move on for which I respect him. There also rules were broken and I had raised objections back then," she added.
Her comments came in the wake of her disagreement with the CoA chairman over the formation of an ad-hoc committee, comprising Kapil Dev and Anshuman Gaekwad, to pick the India women's team head coach.
Indian women's team T20I skipper Harmanpreet Kaur and her deputy Smriti Mandhana had requested the CoA and BCCI to continue with the interim coach Ramesh Powar. However, Rai had expressed disagreement over the same, saying players could not decide coaching staff through votes.
Reflecting on the same, Eduji said, "I see nothing wrong in women cricketers writing emails reg the coach," Edulji wrote. "They were truthful in expressing their views unlike Virat who frequently sent sms's to the CEO on which you acted and there was a change in the Coach."
Rai soon responded to Edulji's email, admitting that there was a tiff between Kohli and Kumble which led to the latter's resignation.
"Yes- there were differences between Virat and Kumble. As a consequence of that Kumble stepped back," Rai said.