Former south Africa coach Graham Ford, whose name, as reported by HT on Tuesday, had been suggested by interested parties as a possible candidate for India coach, told HT that, while he had not been approached by the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), he would consider an offer, if indeed made.
Ford, who had a very successful stint with South Africa between 1999 and 2001, winning nine of the 11 series in which he had charge, said in an email on Tuesday, “I am passionate about the game and would consider it (coaching India) a challenge. However, my family situation and my current position at Kent (where he is director of cricket) would have an impact on this consideration.”
Ford’s interest becomes more significant when juxtaposed against the fact that some former Indian players, including Sunil Gavaskar, who is on the coach’s committee that is to meet on June 4, seemed lukewarm about Whatmore. The Aussie, a hot contender for the job, has been under-fire for being part of the team management that had Bangladesh field first against India in the Dhaka Test.
Ford, who was assistant to Woolmer till the 1999 World Cup, was sacked as South Africa coach in 2001 in the aftermath of the Hansie Cronje match-fixing scandal. But his work with both South Africa and Kent was highly appreciated in the cricketing world and this caught the eye of Indian players.
Not surprisingly, Ford didn’t want to get into any discussion on how he would handle the star-studded Indian team. “I am not in a position to answer this… I am unaware of the boundaries of the job and the job description,” he said.
But he admitted he followed Indian cricket and had his ‘opinions’ on the team. He wouldn’t get into what he thought the areas of concern were though. “Like all passionate cricket followers, I know a fair amount about the Indian players and obviously have my opinions, but would not want to voice them as a mere onlooker,” he stated.
Meanwhile, several former players and a couple of BCCI officials have openly stated a preference for an Indian as coach. The players though, speaking to the Board through the seniors, have clearly stated they would prefer a foreigner. “We want someone who comes with no baggage and no biases,” said a top player.