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This Ford will fly, but Kent want him

cricket Updated: Jun 11, 2007 16:44 IST
Rohit Mahajan
Rohit Mahajan
Hindustan Times
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Coach-elect Graham Ford has told the Indian Board that he's willing but his county, Kent, does not seem too keen to let him go.

A message on the Kent website stated, "Following reports suggesting that Director of Cricket Graham Ford has been offered and has accepted the role of coach to the Indian National side, Kent County Cricket Club can confirm that Ford is returning to the UK and will be at Tunbridge Wells for Kent's penultimate group match in the Friends Provident Trophy against Hampshire."

It went on to say that the county expected to have discussions with Ford after Sunday's one-dayer and added: "It is hoped that the popular South African will remain at Canterbury to continue the progress made towards re-establishing Kent as a major force in County Cricket."

It might be recalled that Ford had told HT (before he got the job) that the things he would have to check up on, if he got an offer, were his family commitments and his obligations to Kent. He had hoped they would "support whatever decision" he made.

But the BCCI brass is not worried. "As far as we are concerned, we have his assent. He specifically agreed to take the job. The only question is when he would be able to join the Indian team," Ratnakar Shetty, the BCCI's Chief Administrative Officer, told HT on Sunday evening from Bangalore.

Shetty said that Ford had already told them on Saturday that he would be meeting with the Kent management at the end of Sunday's game. "He said that he would have an idea of when they can relieve him after he spoke to them," said Shetty, adding that the BCCI was hoping that Ford would join them "fast".

The Board would like him to make it in time for the India pre-tour camp in Bangalore from June 13 to 16. If that is much too short a notice, Shetty said the Board would like Ford to be able to join the team in Ireland, so he would get some time with the players ahead of the big England series.

Having taken a 9am flight from Chennai, Ford landed in London on Sunday evening and was then scheduled to join the Kent Spitfires in their match against the Hampshire Hawks at Tunbridge Wells. Hampshire batted first and made 220, and the game is likely to end late Sunday night, India time.

The Kent website also said that "no further statement will be made until after those discussions have taken place".