Don't think Virat Kohli is over influential in Indian Cricket, says Vinod Rai

Vinod Rai echoed his sentiment recently amidst the opposite perceptions.

Virat Kohli pic credit TOI

Vinod Rai, the Chief of the Supreme Court appointed Committee of Administrators(COA), has come out and stated that he doesn't think there is any over influence of the Indian Captain Virat Kohli in Indian Cricket's decision making. There is a growing perception, truth or not is a matter of a long debate, that Virat Kohli is getting more than just a say in some of the most important decisions related to the Indian team. 

This has happened ever since people saw how Anil Kumble, the greatest Test Cricketer India produced, was unceremoniously removed from his position as the coach of the Indian team as there were issues the Captain had with him. 

Vinod Rain though doesn't believe in it. He was recently quoted saying, "Any captain will exercise a certain amount of influence on the team. I am in favour of allowing that flexibility and discretion to a certain degree. After all, the captain carries the cross, but I will make it clear that nobody has come to me and said that Virat exercises influence, which is disproportionate to what a captain should be enjoying," 

Vinod Rai also wanted to clarify that there is no pressure of the team management on MSK Prasad, the Chief Selector. He said, "I have no first hand of knowledge that selectors have been under any pressure. I have great amount of respect for MSK," 

"I know of a particular incident when there was a bit of pressure on MSK. It was during January, last year when we (COA) had just come. I was told that MSK switched off his phone and then did the selection which was purely based on merit, MSK can't be cowed down and he is senior enough to tackle the star power. When he selected the team for Afghanistan Test, he was given a pool of players without Virat. Also, neither I nor Diana (Edulji) sits in selection meetings," 

Talking about the planning and preparation for the upcoming tour of England. Vinod Rai said, "I was involved in the decision-making right from the start. There was a lot of criticism that the team didn't have enough time to acclimatize during the South Africa tour where we lost the Test series 1-2"

"This time we discussed with team management, with India A coach Rahul Dravid and chalked an elaborate plan so that our boys reach their early and get to play matches in order to get ready. Also, the Afghanistan CEO (Shafiq Stanikzai) made a statesmanlike statement that they are playing India and not Virat Kohli," 

Talking about the recent stance of BCCI, COA and the Team management that India isn't playing a Day/Night Test in Australia this year, The COA Chief stated, "On April 12, Ravi (Shastri) had met us for a debriefing and he told us, 'Look the team is focussed on something else (with a year left for World Cup). The team is not ready to start practicing with the pink ball yet, When we asked Ravi, has he spoken to senior players, he replied that he has indeed taken feedback from Virat and Rohit (limited overs vice-captain)." 

By Kashish Chadha - 22 May, 2018

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