‘Buchanan wanted to remove Ganguly as KKR captain and succeeded’
Former opener Aakash Chopra has revealed how the relationship between Sourav Ganguly and coach John Buchanan turned strenuous at Kolkata Knight Riders, to an extent that the former Australia coach wanted to remove the ex-India skipper as the captain of the side. Chopra, who was with KKR in 2008, said Buchanan and Ganguly started off a decent note before the relationship turned frosty over time as the team finished sixth in the first season.
“In the first year of IPL, there was John Buchanan [as coach], [fellow Australian] Ricky Ponting was also there. Sourav Ganguly was the captain. I have seen this from close quarters – their relationship was alright to begin with, but it worsened [with time],” Chopra said on his YouTube channel.
Buchanan, who was Australia’s coach during their successful 2003 World Cup campaign, had suggested a “multiple captain” theory for KKR in 2009, but the proposal did not go down well with Ganguly, who in March of 2009 said he was not taken in the loop. Years later, in 2018, Buchanan shared his insights on the topic, saying “Ganguly had issues”.
“Buchanan’s way of working was different, and Sourav had a different temperament,” Chopra said. “In the end, he also wanted to remove Sourav Ganguly from captaincy, which actually happened the following season [in 2009, when Brendon McCullum was named captain], because in the first season, the team came sixth [on the points table], and then they came eighth when Sourav was not the captain.”
By the start of the 2009 season, the spat between Ganguly and Buchanan had reached new heights. Even though Brendon McCullum replaced as the man in charge of the team, the former batsman did play 13 matches but registered a poor tally of 189 runs. After KKR endured their worst season in 2009 – finishing last on the points-table – Buchanan was sacked and Ganguly was re-appointed as captain for the next year.
“Eventually, John Buchanan had to leave. Some of the things, because I was privy to that, were overstated, like they talked about making three captains, which was not the case. But, that’s what happens. If one thing is wrong, it becomes a domino effect, other things also go wrong, and it’s said that nothing was good during his leadership,” Chopra said.
“But then, man-management… one thing that I had against him was that he gathered all his friends and associates there, the whole family had come in. There were a lot of [his] people, I mean, that did not go down very well. On the one hand, you carefully pick and choose players [for the squad], on the other hand, the whole family’s travelling with you as support staff. That was all happening.
“It left a little sour taste. It stands out like a sore thumb in KKR’s history.”