India news December 12, 2011

Kumble quits as NCA chief

ESPNcricinfo staff

Anil Kumble, the former India captain, has resigned as chairman of the National Cricket Academy (NCA) over what he says was a lack of "alignment" between his vision for the NCA and the rest of the committee's.

An official statement from the BCCI for the reasons for Kumble's decision is awaited. He is tipped to be replaced, at least on an interim basis, by MP Pandove, the chairman of the BCCI's specialised academies committee and a member of the IPL governing council.

"I had a three-year vision, a holistic approach for the NCA that was not in alignment with that of the rest of the committee," Kumble told ESPNcricinfo. "It didn't make sense to me to just be a figurehead in this kind of a situation. So I thought it was better that somebody else take over." In his role as chairman, Kumble told PTI, he had made 10 presentations to the committee about his vision for the NCA.

The NCA committee, as listed on website, is made up of 14 members including Kumble. The other committee members are BCCI president N Srinivasan, joint secretaries Sanjay Jagdale and Anurag Thakur, treasurer Ajay Shirke, chief-administrative officer Ratnakar Shetty, vice-chairman Ranjib Biswal, NCA Board members Anirudh Chaudhry, TC Mathew, Rakesh Parikh, Bikash Baruah and Gyanendra Pandey, director, NCA cricket operations Sandeep Patil and administration manager AK Jha.

Kumble is president of the Karnataka State Cricket Association (KSCA) and chief mentor of the Royal Challengers Bangalore IPL team. The post of NCA chairman, an honorary post, was Kumble's first official BCCI position since being elected KSCA president last year. He denied that his decision to quit a day after an NCA meeting in Chennai was due to arguments in Monday's BCCI working committee meeting over apparent conflict of interest issues concerning him. Board rules require that any resignation must be tabled before a working committee.

Two months ago, controversy arose over Kumble's co-ownership of a talent management firm called Tenvic that has on its books several young players including R Vinay Kumar and S Aravind, both of whom have been part of recent India squads and also play for the Royal Challengers. Tenvic - named after Kumble's ten-wicket haul against Pakistan in 1999 - looks after the commercial interests of the players but Kumble has consistently denied any conflict of interest between his administrative and mentoring roles.

He said at the time that "less than 2%" of Tenvic's business was related to "mentoring cricketers", and that too without any commercial benefit.

Anil Kumble's resignation from the post of NCA chairman has only strengthened Indian cricket's status quo. By suggesting changes to the NCA structures, Kumble walked into no-man's land. There is little doubt that Indian cricket needs to alter, streamline and professionalise its injury-management system, a fact reflected by repeated selectoral faux pas. BCCI posts are largely figurehead positions; power and decision-making rest in the hands of very few. For the BCCI to accept what Kumble was offering, even in theory and irrespective of cost, required humility and recognition that their status quo required changing.
Kumble could have been the best man for this job, based on his experience, work ethic and empathy of player hardship. In an ideal world, Kumble should have been the NCA's fully-paid professional CEO. It would, however, have made his KSCA position untenable and shrunk his real influence. As much contempt as he may have for the BCCI's functionaries today, it is only by working with them that he will wrestle change out of the status quo. A seasoned policy wonk would have told Kumble that in this high-profile BCCI post the wickets do not fall easily. Patience and persistence, his strengths as a bowler, needed buffeting by new skills of negotiation, diplomacy and an acceptance that progress will come not in sessions or in days but in years. It would seem both sides have lost this one. - Sharda Ugra