Buchanan hits back at Gavaskar
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Buchanan hits back at Gavaskar

Former Australian coach John Buchanan hit back at Sunil Gavaskar for taking a dig at his modest playing career and questioning his success as coach, saying his similarities with ex-captain Steve Waugh took the team to dizzy heights.

cricket Updated: Apr 13, 2009 00:30 IST

Former Australian coach John Buchanan on Sunday hit back at Sunil Gavaskar for taking a dig at his modest playing career and questioning his success as coach, saying his similarities with ex-captain Steve Waugh took the team to dizzy heights.

"There were always people who were more than willing to put the knife in, and the fact that I never played Test cricket was simmering in the background of these digs, particularly by a select few," Buchanan was quoted as saying by the 'Times'.

"I never shook the feeling that the axe was always hovering," he added.

Buchanan, who is now the Kolkata Knight Riders Cricket Manager, last week drew strong criticism from Gavaskar, who described the Australian "failed former cricketer making a living telling international players to do what he couldn't do".

"Steve Waugh and I were similar in some regards and this helped Australian cricket to reach the heights it has. We both challenged the existing parameters and norms, and created a vision of life education outside the dressing room," Buchanan said recalling Australia's dream run during his tenure as the coach.

Buchanan also admitted he had a strained relationship with Shane Warne, who always disapproved of the coach's ideas when they played together, but added the bowler's outspokenness was always wondered about.

"There was indeed a lot of attention given to the relationship I had with Warne. You must remember we are from opposite ends of the spectrum regarding personalities.

"He might have spoken his mind to the press but at least he spoke his mind and you would never die wondering with him. Even though I have massive respect for the person, the player and the entertainer, we have a distant relationship. There is no conversation between us to speak of," he said.

Buchanan also felt the furore over his four-captain theory was because it was misinterpreted by most people.

"My four-captain policy has been misinterpreted by most people and I would just like to clarify it," Buchanan said.

"Basically, I will not select a squad captain but will select a captain for each match. That captain will make all the normal decisions such as field placings and bowling changes," he added.

Buchanan felt since Twenty20 was a fast paced game it was important to have a unique strategy everytime so he wanted a number of minds to increase the rate of success.

"However, with a unique, fast-flowing and hectic game like Twenty20 I feel there should be more decision-makers, more captains in the process to succeed, so one has to think differently," he said.

Buchanan compared the fast-paced Twenty20 version to a battle.

"My favourite book of all time is The Art of War by the Chinese military genius Sun Tzu, written some 5000 years ago. I think this book was written to describe Twenty20 cricket."

The book's message is that instead of working on formulaic strategies, life requires rapid and appropriate responses to dynamic, ever-changing environments.

It emphasises that in times of order, structured planning is decisive, but in a competitive situation these norms are just not good enough and structure fails. Quick thinking, flexibility and the ability to adapt very fast are the new dictates.

The former Australian coach also disclosed why he chose Bloemfontein as the base for Knight Riders.

"We decided to base ourselves in Bloemfontein because of the similarities to Potchefstroom. The Australian team enjoyed fantastic success winning the 2003 World Cup in South Africa and I feel our preparations were ideal so I am trying to replicate that," he said.

Buchanan believes the next Ashes will be closer than some may think. "The next Ashes could be a tight affair and is up for grabs. Both England and Australia have battled over the past 18 months to hit their straps," he said.

First Published: Apr 13, 2009 00:26 IST