Citing Virat Kohli's (left) reservations in his method, Anil Kumble resigned as India's coach in June © AFP
Citing Virat Kohli’s (left) reservations in his method, Anil Kumble resigned as India’s coach in June © AFP

From the mid-1990s through 2000s, Indian cricket has had big names. Sachin Tendulkar, Sourav Ganguly, Anil Kumble, Rahul Dravid and VVS Laxman were famously called the Fab Five. These were the men of the same age group. News of ego clashes seldom surfaced. Probably they trusted one another and had one goal: the betterment of Indian cricket. This was a phase when Indian cricket began taking its baby steps to being a cricket superpower.

It is no surprise that these gentlemen continue to serve the Indian cricket. While Ganguly wears several hats as an administrator, he is also a part of the Cricket Advisory Committe (CAC) alongside Tendulkar and Laxman. Dravid is the coach of India A and the Under-19 side, while Kumble till June was the coach of the national side. Bloated egos played a role in Kumble’s departure and he gracefully resigned citing “captain’s reservations”. Kumble’s rift with captain Virat Kohli has to be amongst the top controversies this year.

Barring the majority of the good old 90s and 2000s, Indian cricket was never bereft of ego clashes. From the Vizzy days to Dhoni-Sehwag and now Kohli-Kumble, Indian cricket has seen its share of trouble. Former CoA member and cricket historian Ramachandra Guha believes the fallout between Kumble and Kohli was similar to what had happened between erstwhile captain Vinoo Mankad and chief selector CK Naydu in 1952.

Virat Kohli on Anil Kumble stepping down as head coach: Sanctity of dressing room should be maintained
Virat Kohli on Anil Kumble stepping down as head coach: Sanctity of dressing room should be maintained

“I resigned from the Committee of Administrators six months ago and this is for the first time that I am commenting in public on cricket. (There is a) story about massive dispute between Col CK Nayudu and Vinoo Mankad,” Guha, whose resignation created a huge controversy earlier this year, spoke during a function at the Bombay Gymkhana.

The Nayudu-Mankad incident

“So essentially Nayudu was the chairman of selectors and Mankad was India’s great cricketer. India was touring England in 1952 and Mankad had been offered a contract with Lancashire League. So when Mankad told the BCCI that if you assure me that I will be on the England tour of 1952 I will not take this contract. (To which) Nayudu said we will not give you an assurance. India lost the first Test (and) Mankad played in Lord’s,” Guha recollected.

India lost the Lord’s Test but Mankad scored 72 and 184, and bagged figures of 5 for 196 in the England first innings.

Guha opined that back in the 50s, it was administrators who got the upper hand but now players have emerged more powerful.

“My one point on cricket today it struck me is that the relationship between Nayudu and Mankad in 1951-52 was akin between Anil Kumble and Virat Kohli. With this difference, in 1952, the administrators, selectors and managers had an upper hand compared to the players. Abhi ulta hai (now it is opposite),” Guha added.