Kolkata Knight Riders held an almost five-hour-long meeting in Mumbai on Tuesday to discuss, among other things, coach John Buchanan’s successor. The name of Richard Pybus figured prominently along with that of John Wright, reportedly pushing Dav Whatmore to the background.
“It’s about picking someone who has some knowledge of the conditions and other stuff in the sub-continent,” said a team source. “That’s why Pybus has suddenly entered the race. Wright is also in the fray but Whatmore is not because he has a contract with the BCCI (as director of the National Cricket Academy) till next year.”
Pybus, who was coach of Pakistan in two spells between 1999 and 2003, has recently quit as coach of South African domestic side Nashua Titans. The Knight Riders are expected to finalise on the coach and their squad by the end of this month. Sourav Ganguly, according to a team official, is going to play the role of a “mentor”.
The meeting, attended by all top names involved with the team including owners Shah Rukh Khan, Jay Mehta and former captain Ganguly at the residence of the film star, more or less decided that the former India captain would return as skipper. That’s because Brendon McCullum will be busy with New Zealand commitments when the third edition of the Indian Premier League starts next March.
The possibility of an India deputy coach persists. It was learnt on Tuesday that former India medium-pacer and Bengal coach Paras Mhambrery has emerged front-runner. “Because he has been associated with the Bengal team, Mhambrey stands a good chance to be the deputy,” said the source. Mhambrery said he has not been approached yet.