John Buchanan's revolutionary thinking on cricket has caught another one of the game's leading players off guard.
Buchanan, who guided Australia to two World Cup titles and on two world-record winning streaks in the test arena after replacing former test opener Geoff Marsh as coach in 1999, wants to rotate the captaincy of his Indian Premier League franchise during different phases of a match.
There were times when Shane Warne, the legendary leg spin bowler who retired from international cricket in 2007 as the leading all-time wicket taker in tests, didn't agree with Buchanan's left-field ideas in their long coach-player relationship with Australia.
Now it's former India captain Sourav Ganguly's turn at the Kolkata Knight Riders.
"Cricket's in a phase of transition. I'm very keen to look at different ways of running the show," Buchanan said as he unveiled his multiple captain concept, adding that the Twenty20 game relied heavily on instinctual reactions to fast-breaking situations rather than the considered approach required for test cricket. "In this shortest version of the game, there's no scope for thinking and I believe this new concept will work."
Buchanan, who retired from the Australian job after winning the 2007 World Cup, wants to use a different captain during the fielding and batting stages of a match, saying multiple leaders would ensure multiple ideas.
"We're looking at knowledge of individuals at different stages of the game. The idea is to have somebody to have a better view of the game irrespective of whether he's in the middle or off the field."
Buchanan never played for Australia but is a keen student of the game and has been known to adapt ideas from other sports or even philosophers to stay ahead of the competition.
Ganguly said Buchanan was entitled to his opinion about multiple captains, but the team was yet to decide if it was practical. "We'll have to wait and see because it's completely new, it has never happened in sports," Ganguly, the Kolkata Knight Riders captain, told New Delhi Television. "This is his idea. We've got to wait and see if it actually happens or not."
Ganguly, who had a tense relationship with former Australian captain Greg Chappell when Chappell was India's head coach, suggested Buchanan's concept might not become a reality. "Tomorrow I can jump out and say we need four batting coaches ... or four John Buchanans," he said. "There are a lot of theories which go around in the game, but cricket's is a very simple game. "It's the runs you score and the number of wickets you take that decide the matches, and I am sure it will remain the same." Buchanan said he felt he was "going on the right track." "The concept of multiple captains is new, we'll have to see how it goes," he said. "I'm clear about my concept. We have to look and see how it works out."
The second edition of the Indian Premier League will be played in South Africa, starting April 18. IPL organizers moved the tournament abroad when the Indian government refused to sanction the match schedule because it clashed with federal elections and had the potential to stretch security forces too far.
Warne was captain-coach of the Rajasthan Royals, winners of the inaugural IPL competition last season.