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Kohli rubbishes report of rift in Indian camp

"There are no issues whatsoever." That was the no-nonsense response of the India captain Virat Kohli to reports swirling around the team that he is at the centre of a rift with coach Anil Kumble.

The story has dominated India's build-up to their defense of the Champions Trophy, which begins on Sunday with the small matter of a game against Pakistan at Edgbaston. Kohli swatted away any notion, however, that there were differences beyond the ordinary between team members and Kumble.

"See, there has been a lot of speculation, and a lot of things being written by people without actually being a part of the changing room, which is very strange. There are no problems whatsoever. The team is totally focused on the Champions Trophy."

Kohli stressed that his relationship with Kumble had been a good one, in a period when India have won every series they have played, apart from one T20I series against West Indies in the USA. "It's been really good. The whole journey has been good."

He did acknowledge that differences and disagreements could exist in cricket, but said that they were a sign of progress. "In any walk of life there are agreements and disagreements always. If you don't have knowledge of something, unless I am there myself in a particular situation and I am aware of what is happening, I will not pass any comment. I will not pass any judgment.

"I think in India there is a lack of patience. People speculate from a distance. They apply their own idea. And when that thing does not happen nobody admits his mistake. That is why I do not focus on these issues. If you write something you should take the ownership that I was wrong.

"These are normal things. Even at home you do not agree on everything with your family. The people who speculate should also think do you agree on everything in every situation. It is not possible. All I can say is if you do not have the knowledge about something do not spread rumours, do not speculate and focus on the cricket."

Reports of a divide between Kohli and Kumble emerged after the BCCI advertised for the coach's position on May 25, the same day that India landed in England. Then, Kohli had said that he had no problem with the BCCI inviting applications, because Kumble's one-year term was to end after the Champions Trophy. He had, however, been less than unequivocal in his response to a question about Kumble's contribution to India's recent success.

Kohli had given feedback to the BCCI expressing concerns about Kumble's style of coaching, which one board official said had been described as "intimidating".

"As I mentioned before, if something is put in place as a process, I mean, I don't see why people are creating so many speculations about it," Kohli said.

"It has been followed last time as well, and I didn't see any issues being created last time. So it is the same process. It is just happening after 12 months. People who even try to tell me about this, I don't even want to know anything of this sort, because in a tournament that is in focus so much, and it's such a big stage, a lot of people like to find a lot of rumours flying around, especially before the start of the tournament."

The BCCI, under former president Anurag Thakur and secretary Ajay Shirke had given Kumble a one-year contract. The Committee of Administrators, along with BCCI office bearers and the board chief executive officer Rahul Johri have now advertised for the job with a longer tenure.