Wright has a place in Dalmiya~~s future plans

Published: Thursday, May 6, 2004, 23:53 [IST]
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New Delhi :Coach John Wright, whose contribution to the success of the Indian cricket team has been widely acknowledged, is likely to be offered a fresh contract when his current tenure ends in September this year.

Acknowledging that the former New Zealand captain had done a "good job" since becoming the coach in November 2000, Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) president Jagmohan Dalmiya said in New Delhi on Thursday that he believed in continuity.

However, Dalmiya maintained that the decision regarding re-appointment of the coach would be taken by the Board's Working Committee.

"We have no idea of saying goodbye to anybody at the moment. Wright has done a good job, but it is a decision which will be taken by the Working Committee at a later stage," Dalmiya said in an interview at New Delhi.

"May be the Working Committee will empower the President to take a decision. We have to wait," he said, adding that a decision would be taken at an appropriate time.

The former New Zealand opener took over the job from Kapil Dev for the home series against Zimbabwe in 2000 and his contract was extended by a year just before the TVS Cup in Dhaka last year.

The BCCI chief said he had separate interactions with all the members of the support staff after the historic Pakistan tour and had drawn up a detailed programme for the forthcoming season.

"I had a meeting with all of them after the Pakistan tour and my discussions with them gave me an idea of what we need to do. I told them that they had done a good job. The country is celebrating... but it is important not to get complacent. We need to keep the good work going," he said.

Dalmiya said he always believed in having regular discussions with the captain and coach and get their feedbacks on what was required to be done.

"I strongly feel that cricketing decisions should be left to the people who play the game. We are administrators and need to know from the players what they need."

Dalmiya said scientific planning and focus on physical fitness had been largely responsible for India's splendid performance in the last couple of years.

"The success is not just a fluke. It is because of the scientific planning that has gone behind and I hope India will not look back from here.

"The new boys are settling down very fast and have started giving the results. The senior players are leading from the front and that augurs well for the team. But there are other important things that have been taken care by the Board like stress on physical fitness and giving the juniors necessary international exposure," he said.

Dalmiya said the Board's emphasis on activating junior level programme had started the process of a "supply line" and strengthened the reserve bench of the national team.

"We know that there is no dearth of talent in the country, it is a question of giving the youngsters the opportunity to play more. The frequent tours of the India 'A' and Under-19 teams have really helped as it has given players exposure to international matches.

"When these players come to the highest level, they must have the international exposure and the fitness to be able to perform. That is why we have stressed so much on preparing the juniors," he explained.

He said the Board has now made it mandatory for all the teams in the domestic circuit to employ a quality physical trainer and the under-15, under-17 teams would also have the services of trainers as "fitness is a key area of the game".

"All the affiliated units have been given latest imported equipment brought from USA so that the fitness aspect is taken care of," he said.

Dalmiya said while performance was of "prime importance", the issue of setting up the infrastructure and looking after the needs of former cricketers was also vital.

"Without money you cannot have good programmes. It is important to plough back the money for the development of the game. We need to look how best we can build the system," he said.

Dalmiya said as part of its efforts to streamline cricket at the domestic level, BCCI was planning to divide the under-19 cricket into two sections from next year.

"We have divided domestic cricket into two categories --Elite and Plate -- so that the stronger teams play among each other to avoid one-sided contests. We are planning to do the same at the under-19 level," he said.

On reports that the BCCI was planning to rope in the services of film stars and top cricketers like Sachin Tendulkar and captain Sourav Ganguly to boost its image, Dalmiya said, "Image building is not the priority of the Board. We are just concentrating on cricket".

"Those who know what the BCCI is doing, they know. Generally, there is a lot of gossip about what the Board is doing... there is no dearth of gossip mongers. The Board does not get the proper image, it is not getting the pat but we are happy if we can raise the standard of Indian cricket," he said.

"The Board spends about Rs 60 to 70 crore per year for coaching and facilities. It is because we are spending so much that we are getting the players. Today, the reserve bench is overflowing".

Dalmiya also felt that the ten-year calender finalised by the International Cricket Council (ICC) was "too cramped" and provided no scope for teams to alter their itineraries.

"We would like to play more against Australia but we cannot do so because of the cramped schedule. I think Australia and India are the top two teams at the moment. It is only when we play against them, we will know what we need to do to become the number one team," he said.

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