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Ramachandra Guha Tears Into Dhoni in Resignation Letter, Backs Coach Kumble

Baidurjo Bhose |Cricketnext | Updated: June 2, 2017, 1:37 PM IST
Ramachandra Guha Tears Into Dhoni in Resignation Letter, Backs Coach Kumble

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New Delhi: Historian Ramachandra Guha might have cited personal reasons for quitting from his position in the Supreme Court-appointed Committee of Administrators of the BCCI, but in a strongly worded letter to chairman Vinod Rai, he has spared none, even pulling up the BCCI for handing former India skipper MS Dhoni a Grade ‘A’ contract.

In the letter, in possession with Cricketnext, Guha also goes on to make his displeasure known about the way current coach Anil Kumble has been treated.

“Unfortunately, the superstar syndrome has distorted the system of Indian team contracts. As you will recall, I had pointed out that awarding MS Dhoni an ‘A’ contract when he had explicitly ruled himself out from all Test matches was indefensible on cricketing grounds, and sends absolutely the wrong message.

“The way in which the contract of Anil Kumble, the current head coach of the senior team, has been handled. The Indian team’s record this past season has been excellent; and even if the players garner the bulk of the credit, surely the head coach and his support staff also get some. In a system based on justice and merit, the head coach’s term would have been extended. Instead, Kumble was left hanging, and then told the post would be re-advertised afresh,” Guha wrote to Rai.

Guha also did not spare Gavaskar as he wrote: “Sunil Gavaskar is head of a company which represents Indian cricketers while commenting on those cricketers as part of the BCCI TV commentary panel. This is a clear conflict of interest. Either he must step down/withdraw himself from PMG completely or stop being a commentator for BCCI.”

In fact, Guha also did not leave Delhi Daredevils mentor and India 'A' coach Rahul Dravid as he spoke about how no person under contract with an India team, or with the NCA, should be allowed to moonlight for an IPL team too.

“BCCI in its carelessness (or otherwise) might have drafted coaching/ support staff contracts to allow this dual loyalty business, but while it might be narrowly legal as per existing contracts, it is unethical, and antithetical to team spirit, leading to much jealousy and heart-bum among the coaching staff as a whole. This practice is plainly wrong, as well as antithetical to the interests of Indian cricket.

“I would like an explicit and early assurance from the BCCI management that such manifestly inequitous loopholes in coaching/ support staff contracts will be plugged. Yet no assurance was given, and no action was taken. The BCCI management and office-bearers have, in the absence of explicit directions from the COA, allowed the status quo to continue,” he wrote.

Excerpts from the letter:

I have repeatedly pointed out that it is contrary to the spirit of the Lodha Committee for coaches or the support staff of the Indian senior or junior team, or for staff at the National Cricket Academy, to have contracts in the Indian Premier League. One cannot have dual loyalties of this kind and do proper justice to both. National duty must take precedence over club affiliation.

No person under contract with an India team, or with the NCA, should be allowed to moonlight for an IPL team too. BCCI in its carelessness (or otherwise) might have drafted coaching/ support staff contracts to allow this dual loyalty business, but while it might be narrowly legal as per existing contracts, it is unethical, and antithetical to team spirit, leading to much jealousy and heart-bum among the coaching staff as a whole. This practice is plainly wrong, as well as antithetical to the interests of Indian cricket.

Sunil Gavaskar is head of a company which represents Indian cricketers while commenting on those crickters as part of the BCCI TV commentary panel. This is a clear conflict of interest. Either he must step down/withdraw himself from PMG completely or stop being a commentator for BCCI.

Unfortunately, the superstar syndrome has also distorted the system of Indian team contracts. As you will recall, I had pointed out that awarding M S Dhoni an ‘A’ contract when he had explicitly ruled himself out from all Test matches was indefensible on cricketing grounds, and sends absolutely the wrong message.

The way in which the contract of Anil Kumble, the current Head Coach of the senior team, has been handled. The Indian team’s record this past season has been excellent; and even if the players garner the bulk of the credit, surely the Head Coach and his support staff also get some. In a system based on justice and merit, the Head Coach’s term would have been extended. Instead, Kumble was left hanging, and then told the post would be re-advertised afresh.

If indeed the captain and the Head Coach were not getting along, why was not this attended to as soon as the Australia series was over in late March? Why was it left until the last minutes, when a major international tournament was imminent, and when the uncertainty would undermine the morale and ability to focus of the coach, the captain and the team> And surely fiving senior players the impression that they may have a veto power over the coach is another example of superstar culture gone berserk? Such a veto power is not permitted to any other top level professional team in any other sport in any other country. Already, in a dismaying departure from international norms, current Indian players enjoy a veto power on who can be the members of the commentary team. If it is to be coaches next, then perhaps the selectors and even office-bearers will follow?

The absence of a respected make cricketer in the COA has attracted a great deal of criticism already, much of it from important stakeholders in Indian cricket. It must be addressed and remedied. The amicus curae had suggested two outstanding names, Venkat and Bedi, both of whom were rejected because they were over seventy. However, there are some cricketers of the right age and experience who fit the bill. Based on my knowledge of the subject, I would say Javagal Srinath would be an excellent choice. He is a world-class cricketer, was a successful and scandal-free Secretary of the Karnataka State Cricket Association and is an ICC match referee, and comes from an educated technical background to boot. I strongly urge the Chairman and the other members to consider approaching him in this regard. He would complement Diana perfectly, and the combination of these two respected and top class former cricketers would enhance our credibility and effectiveness enormously.

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First Published: June 2, 2017, 12:29 PM IST

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