Vinod Rai, the head of Supreme Court-appointed Committee of Administrators, has come out in support of under-fire India captain Virat Kohli. With India being thoroughly outplayed in the first two Tests of the ongoing series against South Africa, Kohli has been receiving criticism from several quarters for his bold selection decisions.
Kohli’s decision to leave out Ajinkya Rahane for the first two Tests to make room for Rohit Sharma was met with severe criticism, and the criticism only escalated when the decisions backfired. India had also dropped Bhuvneshwar Kumar for the second Test despite the bowler being the most successful Indian pacer in the series-opener at Newlands.
Recently, former India opener Virender Sehwag said there is no one in the dressing room to point out Kohli’s mistakes. However, Rai has backed Kohli and said there is nothing wrong in giving the India skipper a “free hand”.
“He has motivated the players. He’s very aggressive and systematic on the field. He’s doing an excellent job,” Rai said while speaking at a session on cricketers at the Tata Steel Kolkata Literary Meet.
“A captain should be given a free hand in the matter (of team selection). You can’t have a captain being controlled from outside. I think he’s given a total free hand and he’s been able to mould an excellent team.”
Recently, Ramachandra Guha had also taken a shot at Kohli, saying the BCCI officials worship the India skipper.
Rai further said that the BCCI has still not decided on whether to give its approval to the ICC to bid for cricket in the Olympics. The ICC is pushing for an Olympic return of the sport, probably with the T20 version, in the 2024 edition but the final decision depends a lot on whether the BCCI gives it approval or not.
“It’s still under consideration. We will see. It depends a lot on the cricket loving population of the country. What’s the kind of cricket they want. It will take place slowly,” he said.
The CoA head went on urge legendary cricketers like Sachin Tendulkar and Kapil Dev to get into cricket administration.
“I think it’s high time that cricketers come into administration too. The pain of playing was demonstrated this year and Sourav will agree,” he said.
“The Lodha Committee has done a very good thing. They have said that one of the members in the BCCI has to be an ex-cricketer. I’ve been feeling for a long time that people like Sourav, Sachin and Kapil whom I’ve personally requested come into cricket in a big way.
“They are the people who have come up the hard way. They learnt at every level what it means to be playing cricket. Cricket administration must at least some sprinkling of former cricketers in it to make the game much better in terms of quality.”