Can the `Big Three' Sachin Tendulkar, Sourav Ganguly and VVS Laxman help in working out a truce between Indian captain Virat Kohli and coach Anil Kumble? Well, this is what the BCCI is hoping for. Sources said that the three legendary stars, members of the board's cricket advisory committee (CAC), have asked both Kohli and Kumble to soften their stand and bury their differences to ensure a congenial atmosphere in the Indian dressing room.
If Kohli and Kumble are able to reach an understanding while handling team matters, the head coach's announcement for the coming two years - till the 2019 World Cup - could happen before the Indians leave for the West Indies tour, or in the middle of the West Indies series. India will play five ODIs and a T20 game between June 23 to July 9 in the Caribbean. If the announcement is delayed till July, it may mean the end of Kumble's stint with Team India, sources said.
The Committee of Administrators (COA), looking after BCCI's administrative affairs, confirmed that Kumble would be the head coach till the West Indies series. “The coach selection matter is being taken care of by the CAC, which selected Anil Kumble last year for one year. Now the process - for picking the coach - has to be followed. And since the process has been delayed, Kumble, subject to his acceptance, will be there for the West Indies tour,” CoA chairman Vinod Rai said without elaborating much on the coach issue.
But why opt for a temporary truce? Board sources said that if making the choice was so simple, the CAC would have given Kumble an extension right away. The fact that Kumble has been given a temporary extension means the CAC is simply buying time.
“Both Virat and Kumble were spoken to by the CAC members and both have to agree on certain things. Perhaps, Kumble would have to take a little step back if he wants to continue as a coach,” a source said while adding the CAC would be meeting the team management again to assess the progress.
A top board official said that Kohli has made a conscious effort to ensure that the differences he had with Kumble in the past had to be forgotten and the thrust of the team was to do well in the Champions Trophy. “Kohli told his close aides in the team that differences with Kumble can't be made such a big issue at the cost of the team. He made it clear that India doing well would be the prime concern for him and nothing else,” the official added.