Jun 032017
 

India captain Virat Kohli was adamant he had “no problems” with coach Anil Kumble amid reports of a damaging rift on the eve of the team's Champions Trophy title defence.

An extra layer of intrigue has been added to India's opening match against Pakistan — already the most high-profile fixture in world cricket — in Birmingham on Sunday by Indian media reports of differences between Kohli and Kumble over tactics and training.

Kumble's contract ends this month but the decision to advertise his job ahead of the Champions Trophy, a tournament featuring the world's top eight one-day international sides, led historian Ramachandra Guha to resign in protest from a Supreme Court-appointed committee overseeing the Board of Control for Cricket in India.

Kumble has helped India win all five Test series since his appointment in June last year.

The BCCI insisted it had merely followed routine procedure by inviting applications for the former India leg-spinner's job.

'Same process'

This was a view endorsed by Kohli during his pre-match press conference at Birmingham's Edgbaston ground on Saturday.

“There have been a lot of speculations and a lot of things being written by people without actually being a part of the changing room, which is very strange,” he said.

“There are no problems whatsoever. If something is put in place as a process, I don't see why people are creating so many speculations about it. It's been followed last time as well, and I didn't see any issues being created last time. It's the same process.

“It's just happening after 12 months. And there are no issues whatsoever. The team is totally focused on the Champions Trophy.”

The star batsman insisted: “I don't even want to know anything of this sort.

“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.

“They're doing their job, they're trying to create a nice livelihood. That's all we can say.

“We're focused on our livelihood, which is on the field and that's all that we're going to focus on.”

Nevertheless, Kohli added: “Unless someone is part of something, I don't think they should sit at a distance and speculate and give judgements on what's happening.”

Asked how he had enjoyed working with Kumble, Kohli said: “The whole journey has been good.”

'Captain-coach relationship like a marriage'

Meanwhile Pakistan's Mickey Arthur compared the relationship between a coach and captain to that of a marriage.

“We don't know what's going on,” Pakistan coach Arthur, also speaking at Edgbaston, told reporters.

“That's India's problem, to be honest.”

Arthur, a former coach of both his native South Africa and Australia, added: “All I know is that the captain/coach relationship is almost like a marriage. You've got to be on the same page all the time.

“If you're on the same page you get correct decisions and you give clarity to your team.

“That's certainly where Saf (Sarfraz Ahmed) and myself find ourselves, very much on the same page,” he insisted.

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