The last-placed team in the inaugural Indian Premier League (IPL) season, Hyderabad IPL team are making ‘structural changes’ at the top with the hope of an improved show in the second season.
Coach Robin Singh, head of cricket Shishir Hattangadi and manager Vijay Mohan Raj have all been sacked. These developments happened in June, when the owners, Deccan Chronicle, appointed Englishman Tim Wright as the CEO. Wright was involved closely with the IPL before this appointment as the senior vice-president for sports marketing firm, IMG. It is reliably learnt that former Australian left-handed batsman, 38-year-old Darren Lehmann would take over as the new coach while retired Aussie wicket-keeper batsman Adam Gilchrist, who captained Hyderabad IPL team for a major part of the season in VVS Laxman's absence would double up as a 'mentor'.
Lehmann, who played 27 Tests and 117 ODIs, was associated with the eventual winners, Jaipur team, in the first half of the IPL as a cover for South African Graeme Smith and played in two matches.
‘More people getting involved’
While the decision-making authorities did not confirm these latest appointments, a top source said “there are some more people getting involved and we will forward the details once they join.” Unlike the other seven IPL teams, Hyderabad was the only one that had only Indians in their support staff. The team managed to win only two of their 14 matches and it is learnt that their CEO, J Krishnan has accepted sole responsibility for the poor results to the owners as he made all the decisions.
Hattangadi, a former Mumbai batsman, was associated with the Hyderabad IPL team through Group M, leading full service media investment management operation across the globe. “I was roped in as the head of cricket as I was under the impression that they wanted Mumbai ideas. But I was asked to do managerial job,” Hattangadi told HT. Hattangadi, now a Mumbai Ranji selector, said it was a mutual decision to split ways.
Vijay Mohan Raj said he “was not part of Hyderabad IPL team's restructuring plan.” “We were all supposed to be with Hyderabad team for three years. But there was as clause that allowed us to be removed with a three-month's notice. None of us took it seriously. Perhaps, the owners felt that by changing the support staff, they could solve the problems,” Raj said from Hyderabad.
Raj, a former Ranji player and now a qualified coach, has been appointed as the director of Hyderabad Cricket Association's Hyderabad Cricket Academy of Excellence that is coming up at the Gymkhana grounds in Hyderabad.
However, one person who continues as part of the team's set up is the assistant coach, Kanwaljit Singh. The former off-spinner said he has a big role in selecting players for the IPL team. “There will be some changes in the player set-up as we want better results,” he said. He added that he was in constant touch with the new CEO, Wright.