Troubled by the way Kumble was made to exit – Sehwag

Former India batsman Virender Sehwag has revealed that he was “troubled” by the way Anil Kumble was forced to leave as India coach in June. Sehwag, who was one of the candidates interviewed to fill Kumble’s vacancy, said that he only applied for the India-coach job after being asked to by BCCI secretary Amitabh Choudhary, the move was supported by India captain Virat Kohli, and he did it because Ravi Shastri told him he would not apply for the position.

Immediately after the Champions Trophy, Kumble opted to step down a year after he was appointed coach by the BCCI. Kumble said his partnership with Kohli had become “untenable” and it was “best” for him to “move on”.

Sehwag himself was present in England at the time as he was on the commentary panel for the official broadcaster of the Champions Trophy. Kumble, Sehwag said, was the “best and most capable coach” and hence he tried to speak with both him and Kohli to try and resolve the differences. “I was definitely troubled by the way Anil Kumble was made to exit,” Sehwag told India TV. “If both of them stayed together and they could get along again it would be good. But probably the circumstances were not that he [Kumble] could stay.”

Sehwag gave credit to Kumble for handling an uncomfortable situation admirably. “And the biggest thing was Anil Kumble resigned himself. Possibly it was not a good time for Anil Kumble and hence he had to go. Otherwise there was no better and capable coach than him,” he said.

Sehwag said he had never thought about coaching till the duo of Choudhary and MV Sridhar (BCCI’s general manager, cricket operations) approached him to apply. Sehwag also spoke with Kohli, who supported the move he said. “I did not think [about applying for the job]. BCCI secretary Amitabh Choudhary and Dr Sridhar approached me and they requested me. I took my time. I also spoke with Virat Kohli and he also said he was in favour. That is when I applied. If you asked me if I had interest in coaching, I did not have any.”

Sehwag said he made up his mind eventually to go ahead and apply once he had consulted with his family. “My fear always was I had played cricket for 15 years, stayed away from the family, so if I enter coaching I would again become busy for seven to eight months travelling with the Indian team. Hence I never thought about thinking about coaching and will not think [of it] anymore in the future.”

Sehwag said he was not disappointed at not being chosen because eventually the “best” candidate was chosen by the BCCI’s cricket advisory committee (CAC). The panel comprising Sachin Tendulkar, Sourav Ganguly and VVS Laxman shortlisted Shastri from the half dozen applications, and its decision was ratified by the BCCI eventually.

Sehwag said he had opted to apply for the job after Shastri told him during Champions Trophy that he was not going to apply for the coach position. According to Sewhag, Shastri said he would not make the “mistake” of reapplying for the position once the BCCI had opted to not extend his tenure as India team director after the 2016 World T20. Shastri, a favourite for the position even then, was pipped by Kumble who found favour from the CAC. Shastri had said then that he was “very disappointed” at missing out on the job.

“When we were doing commentary in England, I asked him why he did not apply,” Sehwag said. “He told me I have made the mistake once. I will not repeat that mistake.” If he were aware that Shastri was applying, would he have gone ahead and applied too? “Then I would probably not have applied. Because he probably was the better choice. And the committee (CAC) also agreed.”

Sehwag also rubbished media reports that said he had made a casual “two-line” presentation. According to Sehwag his presentation was about “eight-ten” pages long. Sehwag said he was asked what kind of relationship should a captain and coach share. “I only said captain and coach should be each other’s friends. If a captain finds himself in a difficult position unable to take a decision or takes a bad decision, me, as a coach, I should make him understand like an elder brother that this decision is not in the interest of the team.”

Source: ESPN Crickinfo

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