Cricket Domestic

Ranji Trophy 2019-20: Coach Arun Kumar reveals reason behind his Puducherry exit


Even as Cricket Association of Puducherry (CAP) officials claimed that J Arun Kumar had stepped down as the team’s head coach due to ‘health issues’, the seasoned coach has made it clear that he resigned due to ‘too much interference’ from some of the officials.

Speaking to Sportstar on Thursday, Arun Kumar revealed that the CAP officials often brought about changes in the team without even consulting him. 

“It was demoralising for the whole team. I repeatedly told them not to interfere in the team affairs, but even then it happened,” Kumar said.

The coach, who took charge this season, decided to quit after the team’s loss against Chandigarh a couple of weeks ago. The team has some of the big names like R Vinay Kumar, KB Arun Karthik and Paras Dogra, but even then, some last-minute changes were made in the playing eleven.

READ: J. Arun Kumar steps down as Puducherry coach

Kumar, however, stated that changes were made in the side without informing him.

“I didn’t know that four to five players were changed. As a head coach, I had no idea. This is not fair,” the seasoned coach said.

“The dressing room was heated up. Even in the hotel, the boys were in my room. So, it was tough.”

He also took to social media to clarify that he was ‘doing absolutely fine’ and the decision to quit had nothing to do with his health. 

“If the boys are getting dropped then what’s the use of me being there and coaching the side. The boys weren’t trusted enough. They weren’t respected enough,” he revealed.

Under Kumar’s tutelage, domestic giant Karnataka won back-to-back domestic trebles – Ranji Trophy, Vijay Hazare Trophy and Irani Cup – for two years in succession in 2013-14 and 2014-15. And the 45-year-old coach stated that the officials started interfering only during the Ranji Trophy.

“I tried to protect my boys. It was a very difficult phase. I have been telling the officials to leave the team alone, but that did not happen. I was trying to boost the confidence of the players and the officials were downing their morale. It was very difficult phase of my career,” Kumar said.

With chances of qualifying for the quarterfinals still alive – the team has 41 points from eight games in Plate Group — CS Suresh Kumar has taken charge of Puducherry. 

Currently, the team is playing Nagaland in its final home game and a win here could it to the next stage.

The CAP officials, meanwhile, rubbished Kumar’s allegations, claiming that the coach quit due to ‘health issues’.

“He told us that he was not keeping well and that it was not possible for him to continue,” one of the top officials said.

He, however, did admit that the some of the office bearers of CAP weren’t happy with Kumar as the team lost to teams like Goa and Chandigarh.

“The team failed to deliver in those two games and the entire batting department crumbled. There was no confidence in the team and as the coach, he had to be accountable,” the official said.

“He was not keeping well and would often head home for treatment. In the middle of the season, that was becoming a problem for the team,” the official claimed.



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