18-Nov-2017

Not fair the way Kumble episode unfolded: Dravid

The way Anil Kumble stepped down as the coach of the Indian cricket team left a very sour taste in the mouth. Rahul Dravid, who shared the dressing room with the legendary leg-spinner for more than a decade, felt the Virat Kohli-Kumble episode should not have played out in the way it did.

Speaking on Sunday at a discussion anchored by Rajdeep Sardesai at the Bangalore Literature Festival, Dravid, the current coach of the India ‘A’ and under-19 teams, felt the way the issue panned out was unfair on Kumble.

“At the end of the day, I don’t know the specifics of that particular issue, but it shouldn’t have got played out in the way that it did. I think the whole thing got played out in the media which is very, very unfortunate for Anil and not fair on him at all.

So, what’s the reality of it and what happens behind closed doors is not something I’m privy to, so I can’t comment directly.

“But it was definitely an unfortunate episode, especially to someone like Anil who has been an absolute legend of the game, someone who has done more to win Test matches for India than anybody I know. And he had a successful year as coach as well. But the fact is that it should never have played out the way that it did, publicly.”

Dravid, widely regarded as one of the most selfless cricketers to have represented India, acknowledged that in a stand-off between players and coach, it’s the former who held the upper hand.

“Coaches get sacked – that’s the reality. As the India ‘A’ and under-19 coach, I know I will get the boot some day. Some football managers get sacked after two matches.

Players are more powerful than coaches. When we were players, we were more powerful than coaches. But it’s about the way it is done. The (Virat) Kohli-Anil episode should not have played out the way it did in public.”

Speaking on a wide range of topics concerning cricket in a discussion that lasted almost an hour, Dravid had a message for youngsters who ape icons and end up losing their identity.

“A lot of people ask me why I didn’t behave like Virat. I would have been inauthentic to myself if I had gotten tattoos and behaved like Virat. Sometimes, before an Australia series, Virat says the most outrageous things.

I read it in the newspaper and cringe. But then, I feel that he wants that contest, and wants that lip on the field, because it gets the best out of him.