Buchanan~~s role to be defined by ACB

Published: Monday, May 7, 2001, 22:15 [IST]
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Sydney: John Buchanan's role as national coach will be the subject of a meeting with Australian Cricket Board (ACB) chief executive Malcolm Speed on Wednesday.

Sources on Monday said the Board wants to clearly define the coaching role for the first time after Buchanan made some controversial statements about Shane Warne during the recent Indian tour.

Buchanan, one of the major factors behind Australia's run of 16 winning Tests, was criticised for his comments on Warne's fitness leading into the deciding Test of the Indian series.

It has led to claims from an English newspaper that Buchanan could lose his role as a tour selector for this year's Ashes defence in England. Buchanan said he was surprised at the article and said he had no idea whether the ACB's board of directors would review his automatic role as joint tour selector.

But it is believed there is tension between Buchanan and the ACB, which is still expected to renew his contract during the Ashes series. The crux of the issue remains whether the coach should be a behind-the-scenes mentor or a spokesman for the team.

Buchanan's role could be restricted by the ACB despite his outstanding record as national coach - 15 wins from 17 Tests. Buchanan was not coach when Australia won the first of its 16 consecutive Tests against Zimbabwe in Harare prior to November 1999.

The Queenslander said he would be disappointed to lose his role as tour selector but admitted it could be seen as contradictory. "It depends on what the role of the coach is on tour and at home and that's why it's an important issue," Buchanan said on Monday.

"Being a selector on tour hasn't necessarily jeopardised that role at the moment but, if it was seen to be, I would probably see there isn't a role as a selector."

Australian coaches have taken on varied roles since Bob Simpson pioneered the position in the 1980s. Simpson had different roles under captains Allan Border and Mark Taylor while incumbent leader Steve Waugh has a firm say on the current team.

Buchanan, who is a former coach of Middlesex, hasn't always seen eye-to-eye with his players, most notably Stuart Law in Queensland and Middlesex pair Mark Ramprakash and Mike Gatting.

But his success and support from most players has been unquestioned, leading to his appointment to the Australian position in November 1999 following the retirement of Geoff Marsh.

Buchanan was not afforded much credit during Australia's record-breaking streak, but his role came under question in India when Australia lost its first series in more than 18 months.

AFP Copyright AFP 2001

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