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Wright wanted Ganguly sacked

New Delhi, July 29
Sourav Ganguly may have lost his captaincy and a place in the Indian team after a spat with current coach Greg Chappell, but it has now transpired that even previous coach John Wright favoured his sacking.

Wright has let out some sensational inside information regarding his much-speculated relationship with Ganguly and controversial selection decisions in his new book “Indian Summers”, released in New Zealand on Thursday.

“As much as I respect Ganguly and acknowledge his record as captain and his contribution to Indian cricket, I believe there were sound arguments for a change in leadership towards the end of my stint,” Wright writes in his book.

Admitting a fallout with Ganguly towards the end of his stint with the Indian team, the former New Zealand skipper has said there were times when the Bengal batsman might have also wanted a change of coach.

“There might well have been times when he favoured a change of coach. What really mattered was that the two of us saw the bigger picture, worked as a partnership to provide leadership on and off the field and got results. In that last season, though, the results dried up.”

Wright also says that it was Ganguly who masterminded the appointment of Sunil Gavaskar as consultant for India’s home series against Australia in 2004-05 without taking him into confidence.

“Two days before the first Test (at Bangalore, against Australia in 2004), I was notified that Gavaskar would be joining us as a batting consultant,” he writes.

“I couldn’t work out how it had happened. Gavaskar solved the mystery by revealing at a team meeting that he had a text message from Ganguly. I was far from happy because as the head coach I should have had the final say on support staff issues,” Wright writes.

“...if the captain decides to bring someone into the camp two days from a Test against the best team in the world, there’s not a hell of a lot you can do about it.”

Wright also says he was frustrated during selection committee meetings which were nothing short of a farce.

“The first six or seven selections were straightforward. But when it got down to the marginal selections, those last three or four spots that determine the balance of the team and your ability to develop new players, the zonal factor came in and things would get interesting,” he said.

“It was easy to tell when the selectors had come to a meeting with an agenda... If their boys weren’t picked, they tended to cross their arms, clam up and take no further part in the meeting,” he writes.

Wright said VVS Laxman and Mohammad Kaif bore the brunt of the selectors’ whims.

“Laxman and Kaif are examples of outstanding performers who always seemed to be only one or two failures away from having their places questioned.”

In another context, Wright says Kaif had rubbed then England skipper Nasser Hussain the wrong way through his overzealous conduct during one of the matches.

“Kaif had managed to get under Hussain’s skin... He clearly bugged Hussain when England were in India and during the game at Durham, he had a real go at Kaif telling him to shut up and calling him a bus driver.”

Wright says there is still a reluctance in India to take tough decisions against the superstars.

“The exceptions are the superstars. There’s still reluctance to give an under-performing or unfocused big name a blunt message by having him sit out of a tour or a few one-dayers.”

Wright also defends his approach to the job, saying that he was cautious never to put his opinion on team composition and players’ performance in writing, fearing that his views might be leaked to the media.

He also denies that he was soft with the players. “That was simply not the case. I had tried everything, including banging my fists and being hard-nosed and whenever the president or selectors sought my opinion, they got it without any equivocation or sugar coating. One thing I chose not to do was argue my case in public,” he said.

Selection policy not zonal: Pawar

Chennai: BCCI President Sharad Pawar on Saturday defended the system of selectors representing each zone picking teams for Tests and ODIs.

Talking to newspersons on the sidelines after releasing the biography “Vision Unlimited, the Outstanding Legacy” of former BCCI President, treasurer, industrialist and philanthropist M A Chidambaram at the Chepauk stadium this evening, Mr Pawar said, however, “there is no zonal selection policy as such.”

Mr Pawar’s clarification came in response to a question about John Wright expressing reservations about the zonal selection policy being pursued by the BCCI.

“There is only a selector from each zone. But no guidelines are issued to them to select the team,” he said.

Malhotra slams ex-coach

Kolkata: Former national selector and cricketer Ashok Malhotra dubbed John Wright as a “spineless character” after the Kiwi lambasted the selection policy in his tell-all book.

Malhotra said Wright did not have an opinion of his own and would endorse any cricketer’s name suggested by the selectors.

“In the end we had to remind him that there were only 14 players and he had to suggest names,’’ Malhotra said. — PTI, UNI





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