It’s just been a couple of days since India crashed out of the 2019 ICC World Cup, losing in the semifinals to New Zealand, but reports of discontent and a rift within the side have already started to emerge.
Hindi daily Dainik Jagran, quoting a Team India player, has reported that the there exists two factions within the squad – one of which is close to captain Virat Kohli, and the other to vice-captain Rohit Sharma.
The report also suggests that Kohli and coach Ravi Shastri often take unilateral decisions without taking others into confidence, creating discontent within the team. The latest instance of such a decision was the selection of Vijay Shankar over Ambati Rayudu as the designated No.4 in the World Cup squad, the report said.
Kohli Backed By Vinod Rai
According to the report, the rather high-handed approach of Shastri and Kohli goes unopposed within the team management as the captain enjoys support of Vinod Rai, chief of Supreme Court-backed CoA.
The report points out to this as a reason as to why no action was taken even after successive debacles like the fallout between Kohli and Kumble, the 1-2 loss in Test series in South Africa or the 1-4 loss in England.
The Captain Has His ‘Favourites’
The report also says that apart from the indispensable players like Rohit Sharma and Jasprit Bumrah, those in the ‘Virat Company’ get preference in team selection, adding that there are two factions within the team, the other one loyal to Rohit.
However, the rift within the squad hasn’t yet reached a point to trigger a major conflict.
The report quotes a ‘player’ within the team saying that KL Rahul, despite his poor performances, will always be assured of a spot either as an opener or as the No 4. In the worst scenario, he would be kept in the 15-member squad.
Also, the player reportedly said that Yuzvendra Chahal, by virtue of being part of the Kohli-led Royal Challengers Bengaluru side, is preferred over Kuldeep Yadav, when the situation demands to drop either of the two wrist spinners.
As for Rayudu’s exclusion, the player said that it was only a matter of time and the team management was waiting for him to fail in a few innings before he could be thrown out.
Also Read : The Curious Case of Ambati Rayudu
‘When Will These People Leave?’
The report also claims that the player who spoke to Dainik Jagran was so exasperated with the coaching staff that he was awaiting a change in guard.
“Virat Bhai is performing great with the bat but when will this coach and bowling coach leave?”, the player apparently asked the Dainik Jagran correspondent.
On being told that the coaching staff has been handed a 45-day extension, the player reportedly said that Kohli only pays heed to Shastri and bowling coach Bharat Arun.