MUMBAI: Skipper Virat Kohli and the rest of the Indian team which was categorically against the idea of continuing with Anil Kumble as the head coach of the team, had no problems whatsoever with any of the other candidates applying for the role. They had made it clear that they would not interfere with the Cricket Advisory Committee’s (CAC) decision.
This comes to light after a week of chaos and drama that ensued following interviews of five candidates held by the CAC earlier this week.
Former India opener Virender Sehwag, a mentor with the Kings XI Punjabfranchise in the IPL, had Kohli’s complete backing and would’ve been a front-runner to grab the role if not for certain conditions. Sehwag was one of the five candidates who went for the interview, and according to those in the know of developments, his presentation was the third most impressive after Ravi Shastri and Tom Moody’s. However, a lot of groundwork happened between Sehwag and the Team India camp – initiated by the former India opener himself – before it eventually boiled down to the interview in Mumbai which the two-time triple centurion attended in person.
“After his stint as mentor of Kings XI Punjab, Viru was growing more confident by the day that he had the potential required to work at a higher level in a similar capacity. It was then that a senior BCCI official asked him to apply (for the role of India coach) if he could make up his mind,” someone in the know of things told TOI.
It was after this advice from the BCCI official that Sehwag decided to approach Kohli to get “a feel of things”. “Of course, Viru paa. Your contribution to Indian cricket is great and we’re all so familiar with you. I have no problems whatsoever in you applying for the role. Anybody who thinks he can contribute his best for Indian cricket can and should apply,” Kohli told Sehwag.
The two men from Delhi could’ve well turned their familiarity with each other into a professional relationship if not for Sehwag’s proposal to bring along with him a team of support staff that would include physiotherapist Amit Tyagi and Kings XI Punjab assistant coach Mithun Manhas along with him.
It is then that Kohli told Sehwag he had reservations.”Paaji, I have a lot of respect for you for what you can bring to the table but you have to understand that there is a professional set-up in place, therefore this cannot happen. The rest is up to the CAC,” Kohli said. “There is a support staff in place and has worked with this team for a while now. In fact there are individuals who understand the needs of team members on an individual basis,” Kohli explained.
It is here that Shastri managed to become the front-runner, considering he was willing to have a more inclusive approach as far as he, the skipper and the team members were concerned. “The CAC did a fair job in assessing all candidates and came with the best possible decision,” sources said.
“What went in Shastri’s favour was also the fact that he understood the importance of the work ethic put in place by the existing support staff members who have worked with the team for close to three years,” the source added.