Vinod Rai has regretted that Anil Kumble's contract as India cricket team coach did not have an extension clause. (Photo Credit: Twitter)
Vinod Rai headed the Committee of Administrators (CoA) for 33 months. During his tenure, which was put in place by the Supreme Court and on the guidelines of the Justice RM Lodha panel, Rai faced plenty of challenges. Apart from getting the State Associations to implement the reforms set out by the Lodha Panel, they also had to face the issue of Anil Kumble, the former India captain and who was the coach of the Indian cricket team being sacked following the end of the 2017 ICC Champions Trophy. Rai, in an exclusive interview to Hindustan Times said it was unfortunate Kumble's contract did not have an extension clause.
"Anil Kumble was the best coach available. If his contract had an extension clause, I would have extended it. I have too much respect and regard for Kumble. But since there was no extension clause and since I wasn’t equipped to decide, we fell back on CAC. We inherited the CAC, not created it," Rai told the Hindustan Times.
With the appointment of Ganguly as the 39th president of the BCCI, there is hope that the Indian cricket board puts their house back in order not just in the country but also in the world. In the case of Kumble, Rai said that Virat Kohli, the Indian skipper, would not have had his way had Ganguly being the president at that time.
"I told Sachin (Tendulkar), I felt he was not willing to accept that Kumble continues. So you people have a word with him. Coming from people of your stature, you may be able to persuade him’. I know Sachin and Sourav spoke to him. Sourav told me recently that they had a long chat with him. If they couldn’t persuade him how could I? If there is a difference in the dressing room between captain and coach, who is more dispensable? Obviously, the coach. That’s where we got caught. Dirty linen got washed in public. Ramachandra Guha resigned (as CoA member). The same thing arose with the issue of Mithali Raj and Ramesh Powar. Dissonance in the dressing room and we had to fall back on CAC again. There was so much controversy. Who could have handled it better? If this had happened today, Sourav would have thrust Kumble down Virat’s throat. But it could have created more tensions. I respected Kumble because he walked out," Rai said.
Along with Ganguly, there are other personalities who are the relatives of past office bearers and politicians. There is Roopa Gurunath, the daughter of N Srinivasan. Jay Shah is the son of Amit Shah while Arun Kumar Dhumal is the younger brother of Anurag Thakur. Rai reiterated that there was nothing in the BCCI constitution to bar their appointment in the BCCI.
"The constitution doesn’t bar a brother or sister or daughter from coming in. It is the mindset of those who were holding BCCI captive that has tried to find loopholes. I still don’t care. I think the cooling-off principle will restrict that... the three states who didn’t comply were not there at the AGM," Rai said.