New Delhi: Legendary Indian spinner Anil Kumble has got himself entangled in a controversy related to conflict of interest raised from the various top-level posts he has been holding at different levels, the outlook magazine reported in its new edition.
Kumble is currently the president of the Karnataka State Cricket Association (KSCA), head of the National Cricket Academy (NCA) and is also the mentor of the Indian Premier League franchise Royal Challengers Bangalore. But his role with the talent management firm Tenviv, which he co-owns, has raised a few eyebrows.
Tenvic, which looks after the commercial interests of players' income, has young players R Vinay Kumar and S Aravind in its books. Both the players are now part of the Indian squad for the upcoming limited-over series against England.
The magazine quoted a source saying that being the President of KSCA and holding the top post at the NCA, Kumble has the authority to influence some crucial decisions related to players' selection to the state as well as the national side.
"In essence, as president of the KSCA, he is in a position to appoint selectors, who (in turn) would be in a position to choose players who have signed up with Kumble,” the magazine quoted a KSCA source.
"As RCB chief mentor, he is in a position to make decisions that could benefit his boys. And, of course, his company Tenvic would charge players fees for services provided, including getting them endorsement contracts,” the source added.
Kumble, on the other hand, laughed off the allegations labelled against him, saying there is no conflict of interest as far as holding any of post is concerned.
"I do not see any conflict of interest here. I am very clear in my mind about this. The important thing is to focus on what you are trying to achieve, and I am trying to do that." said Kumble.
He further clarified his position saying, "I focus on what has to be done, not on what people might be thinking. The positions with the KSCA and NCA are honorary jobs, and I have to look after myself. At this stage of my career, I have to do that. Otherwise, you would have to become like Gandhi and give up everything."
Meanwhile, former Indian spinner and captain Bhisen Singh Bedi declined to believe the allegations against Kumble.
"I can't believe it, I don't want to believe it. I don't want to sully the image I have of him."
However, Syed Kirmani, the former India wicketkeeper, who was a KSCA selector till this year, had raised doubts over Kumble's role.
"How is he able to perform all those different jobs? Well, that’s a question you’ve got to ask him.” And that’s just what Outlook did.
Much-celebrated Australian cricket writer Peter Roebuck, too, was quoted as saying that the conflict of interest in Kumble's case clearly exists.
"(The) conflict is clear, and conflict of interest is unacceptable. It happens in England in cricket and soccer and compromises those involved. The Arsenal chairman’s son is an agent for several players. It does not matter whether it is Anil Kumble or a lesser figure. The principle is the same."