John Emburey, the former England off-spinner, emerged as a surprise contender for the post of the Indian cricket team's coach on Tuesday. The Indian cricket board said that it was Sunil Gavaskar, one of the three former captains in the seven-member special committee formed to decide the coach, who suggested Emburey's name.
"Gavaskar recommended Emburey's name on Monday (when the committee met to discuss the possible contenders),"
Prof Ratnakar Shetty, chief administrative officer of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), said on Tuesday.
Talking to the Hindustan Times, Emburey said that neither Gavaskar nor any of the other former captains on the panel have had discussions with him.
"I was approached only by the BCCI," he said. "No former Indian captain got in touch with me."
Emburey's shortlisting has, in a way, strengthened the case of the other contender - Graham Ford. Emburey has hardly tasted any success in his nine seasons as coach of the county teams.
In his first stint as coach, he worked as player-coach at Northamptonshire for three years from 1996.
He failed to impress in all those three years as the team finished 15th, 16th and 16th, respectively, in his first three seasons. As a result, he was sacked at the end of the 1998 season, with one year to go for the expiry of his contract.
Emburey then joined Sky TV's commentary team and also worked with minor county Berkshire for a year before joining his home team Middlesex as coach in 2001.
Middlesex were in the dumps when Emburey took over and he failed to do any magic in the first year, as the team finished fifth in a pool of nine in the second division.
The next year - 2002 - however, was his most successful year as coach as Middlesex not only finished second in the second division but were also promoted to the first.
Middlesex then struggled in the top flight as they barely managed to stay in the first division for the next three years, finishing sixth, fourth and sixth, respectively, in a format where only top six teams manage to retain their place.
The last year, 2006, was Emburey's worst as coach as Middlesex finished at the bottom of the table and were relegated to the second division.
To worsen matters, they faced the humiliation of also being relegated in the one-day tournament.
As a result, he was replaced by former Pakistan coach Richard Pybus as coach and given the role of Director of Cricket, where he would hardly be dealing directly with players.
Ford, Emburey cleared to visit India
Meanwhile, both Ford and Emburey were given green signals by their respective counties to deal with the BCCI. While Ford is director of cricket at Kent, Emburey holds the same position at Middlesex.
"We have allowed him (Ford) to travel to India to find out more about the role," Kent chief Paul Millman told BBC Sport. "Graham has done a fantastic job for us and we very much hope he will stay with the club."
Middlesex chief executive Vinny Codrington told BBC Sport that Emburey telephoned him on Tuesday morning to reveal BCCI officials had been in touch with him.
"My personal feeling is that, from a career perspective, he owes it to himself to at least go and see what they have got to say," said Codrington.
"I think they did make a tentative approach to John a couple of years ago so I am not 100 per cent surprised. I know that they are very fond of John."