Graham Ford and John Emburey landed together in Chennai on Saturday morning for their presentations and interviews later in the day.
They left for England early on Sunday morning, Ford as the new Indian coach for next 12 months at least.
Disappointed at missing his chance, Emburey takes back with him the experience of having made a presentation to the Indian cricket board officials, if that is any consolation.
After Ford's appointment was announced late on Saturday night, the media expected that Ford, the 46-year-old South African, would interact with them.
However, the victorious applicant, the rejected candidate and the selection panel made a back-door exit from the hotel where they had been meeting.
Foiled there, a section of the media rushed to the hotel where Ford and Emburey were staying. There, they found that Emburey had drowned his sorrows at the hotel bar (Distil) while Ford, anticipating calls from a battery of media corps, had a 'Do Not Disturb' message on his in-house phone.
Emburey turned down requests for a chat with the media, dashing off to his room with: "No, no, I don't want to say anything." Ford, who has to inform the BCCI before its Working Committee meeting in New Delhi on Tuesday as to when he would take charge, did not take any questions from the media when he left for the airport in early on Sunday.
It was left for the BCCI officials to offer an insight into what gave Ford an edge over Emburey.
Ratnakar Shetty, the Board's Chief Administrative Officer who was present at Saturday's interviews, said: "The two were not judged only by their presentations. It is their credentials (as coach) that were looked into. Ford has already coached an international side, he has handled top players of South Africa during his tenure and has tasted success as a coach. He has also progressed in his coaching career and has excellent man-management skills."
BCCI Joint secretary MP Pandove said: "Emburey's presentation was good, but Ford's was better. Ford made a presentation — (it was learnt that it was a verbal one) --- about how he would work with the Indian team. The coach selection committee accepted Ford's presentation."
Ford's and Emburey's presentations lasted 20 minutes each and the two were later interviewed for the same duration. Pandove also said that Ford's support staff --- including the bowling and fielding coach — would be decided at the Working Committee meeting.
Saturday's outcome is being perceived by some as a defeat of sorts for Sunil Gavaskar, who had proposed Emburey's name for the post. But Shetty maintained that Emburey was not Gavaskar's choice. "Since we had to have more than one candidate and invited suggestions from the former captains, Gavaskar came up with Emburey's name," he said.
Going by this logic, it appears that Emburey's name was suggested just to make up numbers and that the job was Ford's for the taking. And with skipper Rahul Dravid and other senior players keen to have him on board, the South African was almost a certainty to succeed Greg Chappell.