Virat Kohli and Sourav Ganguly
Virat Kohli and Sourav Ganguly Image Credit: AFP & ANI

Who’s telling the truth? Virat Kohli or Sourav Ganguly? One of them has clearly lied in the matter of India’s ODI captaincy. Why did they? That’s what baffles me. Because nobody derived any benefit from it, and that has pushed Indian cricket towards uncertainty. And that can’t be healthy for the game in the country.

When Kohli was removed as captain of India’s One-day International side, it didn’t go down well with much of the cricket fraternity. Because he had only stepped down as captain in Twenty20 Internationals, not the ODIs. The general belief was that India was keen on one captain for white-ball cricket, but further revelations exposed a more seamy side.

During a press interaction on December 15, Kohli said that he has had no contact with the BCCI (Board of Control for Cricket in India) since September 16 — the day he announced his decision to give up the T20I captaincy. And he was told of the board decision to relieve him of ODI captaincy only on December 8, during a call from the chief selector Chetan Sharma. That was one-and-a-half hours before the selection meeting, he added.

What did Ganguly say?

This contradicts Ganguly’s statement on December 9. The Indian cricket board president told the Press Trust of India news agency that he tried to persuade Kohli from giving up the T20I captaincy. Kohli statements on Wednesday indicate it is untrue.

That brings us to the question of who is telling the truth. Why would Ganguly say that if it wasn’t true? Why would Kohli deny it if it wasn’t true? Is Ganguly trying to score brownie points?

That’s unlike Ganguly, who instilled aggression into the Indian team with his bold captaincy more than a decade ago. Kohli certainly doesn’t seem to be intent on tarring Ganguly, and what would he gain from that.

Perhaps, Ganguly should clear the air on what actually transpired. Kolhi’s statements have put the Indian board president in the dock. Administrators in sport have always come under fire from players, but when players become administrators, they are expected to do better. That hasn’t happened here. Which is galling.

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Although there’s a lack of clarity on the issue, it is clear that all is not well within Indian cricket. There certainly is a smokescreen, and that doesn’t bode well for the future of the game in the country.

That’s very unfortunate since Indian cricket is on the ascendant. Never in the past had India been so formidable. Never have India had such a massive pool of talented players, cricketers who can hold their own in international games.

At this juncture, Indian cricket can do without dirty politics. It can only undermine the excellent work of all these years. Indian cricket and its fans deserve better.