The homepage on John Buchanan's website (www.buchanancoaching.com) has a single quote by American diplomat Henry Kissinger on it. “The task of a leader is to get his people from where they are to where they have not been.”
Well, Buchanan has certainly set himself the tough task of living up to that philosophy with his multiple-captains theory. There's no doubt that the concept is novel and radical. Of course, if it doesn't click, it could also be his death warrant as far as his career with the Kolkata Knight Riders is concerned.
But at least you have to give cricket's most successful coach the credit for having the err… gall to go through with this. That too in Sourav Ganguly's Kolkata, which even now is seeing mini-processions chanting “Buchanan, baari jaao” (Buchanan, go home).
This is obviously about Kolkatans (and others) upholding the honour of their favourite son, but this cult of the Indian superhero should stop somewhere.
There is no doubt that Ganguly has been India's, maybe even cricket's, most dramatic figure. He has been, by turn, someone who has used the system as well as someone who has been used by it, a man who has shown tremendous strength of character and then, sudden, inexplicable weaknesses — traits that have made him beloved, disliked, often misunderstood. But this particular case really, has nothing to do with him personally and to connect the Buchanan Theory to the Greg Chappell fiasco and say they are both Australians etcetera, is far too conspiracy theoryish.
This is T20 cricket. It is the impudent outsider, cocking a snook at the game's more traditional avatars and, by every indication, getting away with it. It is still in its infancy and the rules of warfare will doubtless change over the next few years. So, why mock at Buchanan's mad new vision when you've accepted the madness of T20?
The problem perhaps lies in how this was handled. Badly! Was the month before the tournament the time to announce this? Was it bounced off the captains in waiting — McCullum, Gayle et al? Will the other KKR players know who to look to as the decision-maker in the group, will they not be confused? The operation lacked finesse.
Meanwhile, Ganguly reportedly meets team owner Shah Rukh Khan on Saturday and maybe this drama has an Act II. But he should not be miffed beyond a point. He, Dravid and Tendulkar gracefully opted out of the T20 World Cup squad two years ago as they thought it a young man's game. And with certain notable exceptions, it is. Every franchisee would be looking to the future and that's what Buchanan is probably trying to do. Ganguly is part of a glorious past but he is not the future.
And while he is a huge commercial deal for the Knight Riders and an emotional issue for those of us who love the guy, Ganguly, a smart man, should know better than most that in this bastardized form of cricket, there's little room for sentiment.