India vs Pakistan – the mother of all battles is set to entertain cricket fans as the two nations will be involved in loggerheads during the upcoming Champions Trophy 2017 on Sunday. Both the countries are always upbeat when it comes to such Indo-Pak clashes, but things are not right in the Indian dressing room, which has put India in an uncomfortable situation.
After the Board of Control for Cricket in India invited applications for coach of the Indian team, things have not moved in the right direction.The BCCI might have been forced to take this decision on Anil Kumble for various reasons, despite the coach having delivered for Team India.
The BCCI were also disappointed with Kumble in the past for his actions. He had spoken about the need for players and his coaching staff to be paid well. The coach also informed the BCCI that his players were keen to defend their Champions Trophy crown when the board were in a huge tussle with the ICC, which might have irked the Indian board even more.
More than that, recently a lot of negative things have been coming out in the open, regarding current gaffer Kumble. India players are not happy with the way Kumble functions. His hard-task approach seems to have come under scrutiny. This comes as a surprise to many, considering Kumble was never embroiled in any such controversies in his cricket playing career.
The situation has come to such a point that one of the cricket advisory committee members, Sourav Ganguly also met the players of the Indian cricket team in Birmingham on Friday. He met the players to receive feedback on Kumble. One does not know the outcome, but things may have already deteriorated, way beyond repair between Kumble and Virat Kohli. Time will tell.
Such kind of controversy has come at a wrong time for India, who are in England to defend their Champions Trophy crown, and more importantly ahead of the India vs Pakistan match.
There is always immense pressure when it comes to a clash like this one, and this ongoing episode regarding Kohli is making things difficult for India. How can players concentrate on their task ahead when the talk has been more about off-field problems rather than the actual cricket?
At present, the problem is only off-field, and it would not take any time for it to reach the field. India possesses some of the best players in the world, but if their head is not in the right place, it could affect their performances. With Kohli-Kumble thing dragging on and on after the Indian team reached England, one can imagine the scenario inside the dressing room or even in the team hotel.
How will Kohli and Kumble look into the eye and talk about the playing XI for the Pakistan match? Some would argue that they are professional cricketers, and will find a way out. The problem is that they have to be in constant communication throughout the Champions Trophy, and if the mood does not improve, God save team India.
The format of the Champions Trophy is such, where a defeat in the first match could have a large impact on the team's chances to reach the semi-finals. Pakistan, who also have some wonderful players in their squad, and other teams are aware of the scenario and they could well take advantage of it.
There is a serious need for Indian cricketers and the coach to stay together as a unit, which might be difficult under the turbulent phase. The India-Pakistan clash is going to be their biggest test, and a successful opening game against Pakistan could bring the focus on their cricket, rather than controversies, and eventually, help India deliver in the competition.