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Woolmer to replace Wright?
Faisal Shariff in Cape Town |
March 06, 2003 12:27 IST
After John Wright, who?
The Board of Control for Cricket in India is reportedly talking to former South Africa coach Bob Woolmer to take over from the New Zealander as the team's coach after the World Cup ends.
Woolmer, who was born in Kanpur and took a hiatus as coach after his term as South Africa's coach ended, is now up and running. His name is also doing the rounds as possible West Indies coach.
BCCI joint secretary Jyoti Bajpai, who is also the tour manager here, has denied any move to bring in Woolmer, but the refutation has done little to quell rumours that Wright might not get a second term even if the team wins the World Cup.
Wright's extended term ends shortly after the World Cup.
Wright, who is currently strategizing for the Super Six games, has said that he would like to decide about his future only after the World Cup is over. But he has expressed his desire to spend some time with his kids back home.
A top BCCI official in Delhi refused to confirm the speculation about Woolmer but the news that the BCCI is already thinking of life beyond Wright has sent negative vibes through the team, which has backed Wright to the hilt.
"We will fight to keep him with the team even if we fail to win the World Cup. He has been brilliant," a team-member said, describing the team's support for Wright as one of the toughest off-field moves they have had to make.
Speculation about Wright's future first surfaced in September 2001, when Jagmohan Dalmiya took over as BCCI president after his term as the ICC chief ended and sought to tighten the purse-strings in the name of results.
Replacing Wright, a former New Zealand opener, was one of the moves Dalmiya pondered, but stiff opposition from the seniors -- captain Sourav Ganguly, vice-captain Rahul Dravid and Sachin Tendulkar -- scotched the move.
More recently, the team's failure in New Zealand was seen as an ideal opportunity to dislodge Wright, who was Dravid's coach at Kent. Former captain Dilip Vengsarkar launched into Wright in an interview, but later denied he was angling for the job.
A consistent line of argument against Wright has been: why should the Board pay good money to a foreigner if, at the end of it all, the results were going to be no better than those achieved by Indian coaches.
But with the team now in Super Six and more likely than not to make it to the semi-finals, if not the finals of the World Cup, how valid is that argument, argue those close to the team.
As it is, the rumour that Wright is paid more than what is paid to Indian coaches has been exposed as a lie. Wright earns Rs 157,000 per month. His immediate predecessor Kapil Dev was paid Rs 200,000. Anshuman Gaekwad was paid just over a 100,000 rupees.