Rajput gets extension as India continue coach hunt

Published: Tuesday, November 13, 2007, 17:19 [IST]
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New Delhi: Lalchand Rajput got yet another extension as the BCCI continued to grope in their search for a permanent coach even after seven months of vacancy.

After a crucial meeting here on Tuesday, the BCCI gave another assurance that the 'Men In Blue' will get a coach before the Australian tour.

''Today's meeting was a regular one where some important issues have been discussed. As such there were no discussion on coach but the coach will be appointed before the Australian tour,'' BCCI President Sharad Pawar told mediapersons here today after the meeting.

''Lalchand Rajput and the same management will continue to hold their post in the Pakistan series ,'' he added.

However, the BCCI chief stated that on Dec 16 the Working Committee of the Board will meet again, the venue for which is yet to finalised, wherein the coaches issue will be put forward before the coach selection committee comprising of Sunil Gavaskar, Ravi Shastri and Srinivas Venkatraghavan, for further discussion.

''We need more discusion on the coaches issue and during the December 16 meeting we will discuss the matter with the coach selection committee. But one thing is for sure that the team will have a permanent coach during the Australia series,'' Mr Pawar said.

Interestingly, when questioned about any favourites for the post, with the name of former Bangladesh coach doing the rounds, BCCI vice-president Rajiv Shukla opted to play safe.

''There are many applicants for the post but we won't confirm the names now,'' Shukla said.

Earlier the coach selection committee was scheduled to meet in Mumbai on November 3 but the meeting was postponed indefinitely because of Gavaskar's absence. The committee had earlier also failed to meet on Sept 28 in Bangalore to discuss the applications. Though the BCCI categorically refused to confirm the number of applicants for the high-profile job, it has been learnt that it has received around 25 applications for the post.

Since Aussie Greg Chappell departed after the Caribbean World Cup debacle, Team India has been playing without a full-time coach.

Since then Chandu Borde, Ravi Shastri (Bangladesh) and Rajput have been roped in as stop-gap cricket managers for the England, Bangladesh, Twenty20 World Cup and home series against Australia and Pakistan respectively.

Meanwhile, in today's meeting, the main issue which came up for discussion was the BCCI's answer to the rebel Indian Cricket League (ICL) -- the Indian Premier League (IPL).

The Board today decided that the governing body of the IPL will meet in Jaipur on November 17, where all the modalities of the official league, including media rights, franchises of all eight teams and players contract would be put forward for ratification.

''The governing body of IPL will meet in Jaipur on November 17.

There we will discuss about the media rights, presentation, franchises and players contract,'' Pawar said.

''Till now 49 players have signed agreement with our league (IPL),'' he informed.

Hollywood star and cousin of former New Zealand captains Jeff and Martin Crowe, Russell Crowe has recently expressed his desire to buy a franchise in the IPL which will feature top notch international cricketers like Sachin Tendulkar, Sourav Ganguly, Rahul Dravid, Shane Warne, Glenn McGrath, Muttiah Muralitharan, Mahela Jayawardene among others.

Earlier, India's largest telecom service provider Bharti Airtel and Vijay Mallaya owned United Breweries have expressed interest in acquiring, respectively, the Delhi and Bangalore or Mumbai teams in the multi-million dollar league. Apart from them, some members of the American National Basketball Association, two foreign banks with operations in India and unnamed investment bankers were also eyeing to participate in the rat race.


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