Kumble spins it from the top

Published: 15 December, 2011 08:49 IST | Clayton Murzello |

Anil Kumble is yet another former India captain who has made an exit from a key position at the National Cricket Academy (NCA) in Bangalore

Anil Kumble is yet another former India captain who has made an exit from a key position at the National Cricket Academy (NCA) in Bangalore.

Kumble, to his eternal credit, spoke to the media after his decision to call it quits as NCA chief. But the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) played true to form -- neither issuing a statement of Kumble's resignation nor organising a press conference like Kumble did in Bangalore on Tuesday.

Yet, there is a certain level of mystery and intrigue over Kumble's resignation, just like most issues afflicting Indian cricket. Clearly, this is a huge loss because Kumble is a modern-day thinker, open to technology and well-travelled to know what Indian cricket needs to be on par with England, Australia and South Africa in terms of development and injury management.

Walking away: With Kumble relinquishing his post as NCA chief, there
is a certain level of mystery and intrigue over his resignation, just like
most issues afflicting Indian cricket

There is talk that Kumble's proposal to have a database of players through an IT giant was too expensive for the Board. While that could well have been the case, the worrying aspect would be if the proposal got shot down completely.

The BCCI cannot afford to lose men of intellect like Kumble and there is not enough indication of welcoming as well as implementing ideas from their former stars. Not many player egos allow them to continue in such a scenario because they've spent a good part of their lives trying to win. Cricketers don't end up being great survivors in the administrative field because most of the time they cannot fight the system.

Kumble's exit reminds me of Sunil Gavaskar's decision to resign as an important member of the NCA committee 11 Decembers ago. I had a role to play in that decision as a journalist. When Zimbabwe came down for a Test and one-day series, they played a tour game against the National Cricket Academy in Indore, something which was criticised by Gavaskar in his fortnightly column. Raj Singh Dungarpur, the then NCA chairman took exception to Gavaskar's views and told me in an interview that Gavaskar "should either resign from the academy �  take it on or fall in line."

Gavaskar read the article in MiD DAY and went over to the Cricket Club of India where the NCA committee was meeting and handed over his resignation letter (Raj Singh was quoted as saying that the former India captain flicked it). Gavaskar returned to head the NCA as chairman when Jagmohan Dalmiya became the BCCI president.

Back to Kumble. Curious about why he had tendered his resignation, I sent a text message to someone I know well and is closely associated with the NCA. I promised not to quote him. He sent this reply: "Don't know. Ask Anil and the Board." Fear factor rules.

The Board's silence on the Kumble issue will not do their image any good. Their side of the story must come in officially rather than officials speaking on condition of anonymity, but it appears they are averse to any channel of transparency.

There are several retired players who have the acumen, ability and attitude for administration, but what inspiration do they have to make an entry? Sourav Ganguly is part of the BCCI's technical committee. Being an instinctive individual, one can imagine what he will do if he discovers that none of his suggestions are being implemented.

Kumble's conflict of interest allegation was an albatross. By resigning as NCA chief, he may have felt a sense of relief. But the matter was not so dire to be unsolvable.

Much is being made out of conflict of interest in a cricketing set-up that is filled with examples of it. To be conflict of interest-free, the BCCI must amend its constitution. Until then, integrity must be depended on. I can't see that happening though. Administrators being administrators won't come up with changes that will affect their influence on the game.

Ironically, Kumble being president of the Karnataka State Cricket Association is part of the BCCI gang too. Cricket never ceases to be funny.

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