Conflict with Kumble, bending of the rules, inconsistent team selection and more!

Virat Kohli recently gave up the test captaincy of the Indian Cricket Team. The 33-year old former skipper leaves a legacy behind, with 48 wins out of 60, making him India’s most successful test captain of all time. That said, his reign as a skipper wasn’t untouched by controversy. Today we take a look at some of them.

Infamous Conflict with Anil Kumble

This is perhaps one of the most controversial decisions of Kohli’s tenure. Today, Anil Kumble is known for being one of the most successful cricket coaches of the Indian cricket team. Having lost just one of the 17 test matches during his tenure. So, it came as a surprise to everyone when he unceremoniously stepped down from his position.

But what made him come to this decision was even more shocking, to say the least. As per leaked emails, Kohli apparently played a huge role in ousting of Kumble. According to AFP report, Kohli consistently sent messages to then BCCI CEO Rahul Johri. As a result, the former Indian legend had to step down from his role quoting, “[The] captain had reservations with my ‘style’ and about my continuing as the head coach. The partnership was untenable.”

Bending the rules for Shastri’s comeback

As a part of the previous controversy, the leaked emails also showed how rules were bent for Ravi Shastri’s comeback. As a part of the email conversation between Committee of Administrators (CoA) member Diana Edulji and CoA chief Vinod Rai, Diana says, “There also I had objected and my dissent is recorded when the timelines were extended for someone to apply as he (Ravi Shastri) didn’t apply in time.”

Dropping Ajinkya Rahane for the South Africa tour of 2018

Ajinkya Rahane’s form did hit a rough patch back in 2017, after breaking the records for the lowest averages in a series for a top-order batsman. Yet still, he remained India’s best hope in the Southeast, East, and North Asia (SENA) countries. Not to mention, his away form has always been a big advantage for the ace.

To Kohli’s credit, Rahane did underperform against Sri Lanka in 2018 and was replaced by Rohit Sharma for the 2018 South Africa series. However, the latter struggled in the first two Tests of the series, with a high score of 47. After getting back on the team sheet, Rahane put an excellent inning during difficult conditions and played a major part in winning the Johannesburg Test. However, India did end up losing the series by 2-1. Perhaps, the former skipper should’ve backed his vice-captain more? Well, a few years later he did. This brings us to our next point.

Backing Rahane and Pujara Despite inconsistent form since 2020

Ever since the conclusion of the test series in South Africa, the form of Ajinkya Rahane and Cheteshwar Pujara has been under the radar. It is no news that the duo has struggled with consistency, barely being able to make a dent on the scoreboard.

Pujara, for instance, has failed to cross the 50-run mark in the last three years. Meanwhile, Rahane’s form has taken a nose-dive from an average of 50s in 2016 to the low of 38. Despite the duo putting an average of 21 in the South Africa series, Kohli has consistently backed them, instead of giving an opportunity to Shreyas Iyer and Hanuma Vihari, who’ve done well with their chances.

Dropping R Ashwin in the England Tour of 2021

Ravichandran Ashwin’s form has been the talk of the town in recent times, with the ace spinner slowly climbing the ranks of being one of the best in the world. So imagine everyone’s surprise when he did not feature during the England tour of 2021.

Despite the criticism, Kohli remained faithful in backing his fast-bowlers and all-rounders like Ravindra Jadeja. A move that confused many when you consider the whole host of left-handers in the England team. Kohli’s decision did backfire to an extent when India lost the thief series to the Three Lions. Perhaps, Ashwin’s form would’ve made the difference? We’ll never know.