Kolkata: In view of the disastrous tour of New Zealand the team management of the World Cup-bound Indian team would meet on Saturday to chalk out strategy for the quadrennial event beginning in South Africa on February 8. "The Indian team's performance was bad in the recent tour and that is why we will discuss cricketing matters and World Cup participation before its departure," BCCI president Jagmohan Dalmiya said.
He said the team would leave from Mumbai in the early hours of January 29 for South Africa. The meeting would be attended by skipper Saurav Ganguly, vice-captain Rahul Dravid, coach John Wright, physio Andrew Leipus and fitness trainer Adrian Le Roux. Dalmiya also announced that Board joint secretary Jyoti Bajpai would be team manager though he would not be present at Sunday's meeting. Asked whether he would give a pep talk to players to boost their morale for the World Cup after their dismal show in New Zealand, Dalmiya said, "Let's see, how the discussions progress."
The Board president, however, tried to defend the Indian team saying that luck had also betrayed it as in such conditions where the toss played a crucial role, India lost nine out of eleven times. "But the more important thing is that players have to play their game better. Let them first prove their mettle in the World Cup," Dalmiya said. Asked whether the Board would announce any incentive for the team for victory in the World Cup, he said, "Incentive comes after performance. The players are supposed to play better, then we will see."
He said Indian cricketers were the highest paid in the world after the Working Committee's decision to give 26 per cent of Board revenue to them. "So far, Australia, which pays 25 per cent, is the second highest paymaster." The Indian skipper who spoke separately to the press said that the contract issue would not come up for discussion at Saturday's meeting. "The contract issue is already settled. Moreover, it is a matter between BCCI and ICC. How can we players talk on it?" Ganguly asked. He also ruled out any possibility of the lengthy contract standoff having an adverse bearing on India's performance in South Africa.