World Cup post-mortem begins amid media frenzy

Published: Friday, April 6, 2007, 23:53 [IST]
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Mumbai:India's disgruntled cricket millions faced conflicting media reports Friday as top officials searching for a new coach launched a closed-door review of the World Cup debacle.

Despite the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) making it clear no announcements will be made before the meetings end on Saturday evening, the media frenzy showed no signs of abating.

From outgoing coach Greg Chappell being asked to reconsider his decision to quit, to Rahul Dravid standing down as captain and former great Sunil Gavaskar taking over as manager, rumour and speculation continued.

"If I have to spend all my waking hours denying all that is appearing in the media, I will have no time to attend the meetings," a disgusted BCCI secretary Niranjan Shah told AFP.

"Is it so difficult to wait till Saturday evening? Such reports do not make our job easier."

Numerous broadcast vans from television news channels and hordes of print and TV journalists jammed the entrance of the BCCI offices at the Wankhede stadium where the meetings are taking place.

The review began with Chappell, Dravid and team manager Sanjay Jagdale appraising BCCI chief Sharad Pawar and other officials on what went wrong at the World Cup where India were eliminated in the first round.

The 1983 champions and finalists in 2003 were stunned by Bangladesh in their first match and then lost to Sri Lanka to bow out of the tournament in the preliminary stage.

The BCCI will also speak to seven former national captains before its influential working committee meets on Saturday to decide the future course of action.

The ex-captains invited for the conclave are Mansur Ali Khan Pataudi, Chandu Borde, Gavaskar, Kapil Dev, Srinivas Venkataraghavan, Ravi Shastri and Krishnamachari Srikkanth.

On Wednesday, Chappell told the BCCI he did not want to extend his two-year tenure as coach which ended with the World Cup, citing "family and personal reasons."

The former Australia skipper's decision to leave came amid speculation of a rift with senior players, prompting superstar Sachin Tendulkar to go on record saying "he will be hurt if the coach questioned his commitment."

But on Friday, news reports suggested that the BCCI may ask Chappell to stay on if they were convinced he was not at fault.

Dev, India's only World Cup winning captain, suggested the BCCI should look at Gavaskar to take charge since "he was the right man for the job."

"The Indian team does not need a coach, it needs a good man manager and there is no one better than Gavaskar to do the job," Dev told AFP.

"Look, we did not have a coach when we won the World Cup in 1983. But we did have a good man manager in (cricket administrator) Peter Man Singh."

Gavaskar, the first batsman in Test history to scale the 10,000-run mark, is now a television commentator and also heads the International Cricket Council's technical committee.

BCCI sources confirmed Gavaskar, or any of the former captains, may be asked to take charge for the tour of Bangladesh in May if Chappell is not retained or a new coach not appointed before then.


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