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Over to Shastri
Shiv Kumar/Tribune News Service

Mumbai, April 6
Former captain and noted cricket commentator Ravi Shastri was today offered the post of manager of the Indian cricket team.

Sources said the decision to bring in Shastri was made by the working committee of the BCCI which is having a two-day session in Mumbai.

Shastri was present at a meeting of former captains with senior BCCI office-bearers when the decision was taken. A decision on the coach and the captain to lead the team for the Bangladesh tour will be taken tomorrow.

However, leaks from the BCCI revealed that Dravid may still be retained for the Bangladesh tour scheduled for May.

The board is likely to accommodate Coach Greg Chappell as director of National Cricket Academy in Bangalore. He is believed to have sought one month’s time to make his decision.

Chappell drove up to the BCCI office at Wankhede Stadium in busy downtown Mumbai and offered his take on the defeat. Chappell came in before the scheduled time of the meeting and left behind his report prepared on a CD after staying closeted with Board members for a little more than an hour.

In a statement issued to the media later in the afternoon BCCI secretary Niranjan Shah confirmed what has been leaked to the media these past few days - Chappell’s preference for new blood in preference to the old guard.

“As the coach, he too felt that he was partly responsible for the poor performance. He emphasised the need to promote youngsters and concentrate on fitness and strength for the team to do well in fielding and running between the wickets,” Shah said.

However without revealing details of Chappell’s report Shah insisted that the Coach did not make comments against individual players.

Team Manager Sanjay Jagdale also submitted his report to the BCCI. According to Shah, Jagdale while blaming the entire team for the disastrous performance had singled out the batsman for failing badly.

“He too was of the opinion that the youngsters should be inducted to improve our cricket,” Shah said.

Captain of the Indian cricket team Rahul Dravid, who was the only player called before the BCCI, had a lot to say about the performance of the Indian team, Shah said. He too presented a report to the BCCI Committee. Chairman of the selectors Dilip Vengsarkar too was among those present at the meeting. But statements by BCCI president Sharad Pawar in favour of Chappell indicate that the Australian still has a lot of sympathy at the top.

Pawar complimented Chappell for his 22-month stint as Coach and hoped that he would continue to be associated with Indian cricket. Pawar’s reported statement that Chappell could help implement a long-term plan for India gave rise to speculation the former Coach could be roped in as a consultant for the team.

Chappell was to leave for home later this evening via Singapore but it is learnt that BCCI officials asked him to stay back for a couple of days.

Chappell had earlier told the media that he would not like to have his contract as coach extended. His term as Coach ends in May.

The future of Dravid’s captaincy is also likely to be up for grabs.

In his deposition before the BCCI committee Rahul Dravid accepted responsibility of behalf of the team for the poor performance. The captain also offered a number of suggestions for the improvement of Indian cricket.

According to Shah, Chairman of Selectors Vengsarkar called for strengthening of domestic cricket so that a pool of 25-30 cricketers is selected for the Indian team to be chosen from.

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Ex-captains suggest cut in endorsements

Mumbai, April 6
Appointing paid selectors, limiting the players’ personal endorsements and setting up of a cricket committee were some of the key recommendations made by the seven former captains to improve Indian cricket when they met with the BCCI office-bearers here today.

The performance of Greg Chappell as coach of the Indian team over the last 22 months was not on the agenda although the role of the coach was discussed, one of the ex-captains who attended the meeting said.

“Selectors should be appointed on a full-time basis on payments. Eligibility should be decided for appointment of senior and junior selectors. Greater care should be taken in the appointment of junior selection committee” - was one of the suggestions in the 10-point list submitted by the former captains to the BCCI.

On player endorsements, they suggested: “The players must take the permission from the board before entering into an endorsement contract.

“A copy of the endorsement contract should be submitted to BCCI in order to ensure that there is no clause where in relating to performance-based incentive. Limit the number of endorsements of a player. Not more than two or three players must endorse a product other than BCCI sponsors.”

The board had invited Mansur Ali Khan Pataudi, Chandu Borde, S. Venkataraghavan, Sunil Gavaskar, Kapil Dev, Ravi Shastri and Krish Srikkanth to suggest ways to improve Indian cricket following the World Cup debacle.

The meeting followed the board’s office-bearers’ interaction with coach Greg Chappell, captain Rahul Dravid and the Indian team’s manager at the World Cup in the Caribbean.

“It was one of the best meetings I have attended with the board. It was all constructive suggestions. No individual name was discussed, neither was Greg Chappell discussed,” Srikkanth said. — PTI

Indian cricket’s remedy

  • Domestic cricket should be strengthened by ensuring that international cricketers took part in major tournaments
  • The international calendar should be adjusted in such a way that the India players are available for at least six-eight months. The BCCI should try their level best to amend the FTP in the greater interest of Indian cricket
  • The number of teams in the Ranji Trophy Elite Division be reduced to 10 teams instead of the current 15 and the competition be played on a round-robin basis
  • The venues for senior tournaments should be allotted by the board instead of them being played on home and away basis
  • The structure of junior cricket should be supported by providing good umpires and wickets”.
  • India ‘A’ team should undertake tours on regular basis to Australia/New Zealand/South Africa/West Indies. The tours maybe organised ahead of the senior team’s tour of that country
  • The Indian team must have a pool of at least 30 cricketers who should be rotated so that a cricketer doesn’t play more than 80 days of international cricket.
  • The NCA should be supported by starting zonal academies in each zone till all the state units set up indoor academies 

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Kumble may be Test captain
Ashish Shukla

Georgetown, April 6
Even though Sanjay Jagdale’s report doesn’t take any names, the Indian manager to the West Indies team has spoken about how the team management had over-ruled the advice of chief selector Dilip Vengsarkar on Sachin Tendulkar.

It is learnt that after India had lost to Bangladesh in the 2007 World Cup opener on March 17, Jagdale in panic had called upon Vengsarkar who adviced him to ask team management to put Sachin Tendulkar as opener in the game against Bermuda.

Dravid’s suggestions

  • A streamlined selection process
  • Better team management and appointment of a full-time team manager
  • A media manager

Vengsarkarspeak

  • There should be more tours by A team
  • There should be better coordination at junior and senior level
  • Talent research development officers scheme should be revived in order to unearth more talent

The team management of Rahul Dravid and Greg Chappell though over-ruled the suggestion.

In case Rahul Dravid declines captaincy, Anil Kumble could be offered Test captaincy for the Bangladesh tour. Yuvraj Singh might be anointed one-day captain but only for this tour.

Another important lead to have come through is that board also wants Ravi Shastri to be in the loop and accept the role of coach if it was offered to him.

Both Sanjay Jagdale and Greg Chappell presented their report in person to board chief Sharad Pawar. Jagdale’s report in many ways is a damp squib but that’s the man the Indore-based selector is. Known to keep his serenity in moments of crisis, Jagdale is a man of integrity and dignity.

His report is a short one and doesn’t take any names. It does mention that coach and members were not on talking terms during the World Cup. He has also made a mention that more youngsters should have been in the team.

He has only blamed batting failure against Bangladesh for India’s debacle. In the high-powered meeting, opinion was also sought from Vengsarkar.

Rahul Dravid has been offered captaincy but it is believed he might not accept it for the time being. — PTI

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