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Vishy pipped at post by BCCI politics?

Pawar is said to have showed no interest when Viswanath's name was proposed for the job of India's coach, reports CS Luthra.

cricket Updated: Jun 14, 2007 04:57 IST
C Shekhar Luthra
C Shekhar Luthra
Hindustan Times

The current BCCI regime seems to be getting involved in one bizarre situation after the other. On Tuesday evening, the cricket board brass "happily" left the Working Committee meeting — the overt backslaps and locked arms signalling there was no internal conflict about the Indian coach (manager). At least that was what they wanted to tell the waiting media.

Yet, apparently, Chandu Borde's name wasn't the option straight off. A section of the Board had decided to propose former India player GR Viswanath's name as that of a coach/batting coach (India already have bowling and fielding coaches in Venkatesh Prasad and Robin Singh).

Accordingly, another former India player, reportedly Shivlal Yadav (the Hyderabad representative), proposed Viswanath's name.

Unfortunately, according to an insider, "there was no response from (BCCI president) Sharad Pawar" and that stalled any further discussion. "Sahab (Pawar) showed no interest and asked the Board's secretary to just continue with the existing system of two coaches (Venkatesh Prasad and Robin Singh) for the moment," said a senior BCCI official.

Apparently, ever since Pawar's election, no BCCI official has taken a stand against him. "What Sahab says is law," said another official, adding that while Pawar did not usually interfere, these days he had to get involved, as "there are too many heads in the BCCI".

But the scuttling of Viswanath's candidature (he was favourite for the job) has more more to do with BCCI politics than any cricketing logic itself.

Viswanath has agreed to contest the elections for president of the Karnataka State Cricket Association (KSCA) on behalf of the Brijsh Patel-led group. He had apparently consented much before the meeting but, if sources are to be believed, was reluctant to come out in the open till a final decision on India's batting coach was reached.

Patel, it may be recalled, is identified with the Jagmohan Dalmiya group (and therefore, anti-Pawar). However Patel, KSCA secretary, refused to admit that Viswanath's candidature has anything to do with the Board's divisions.

"Yes, he (Vishwanath) has agreed to fight the president's election. But please don't attach any controversy to it," Patel told HT on Wednesday.

But when asked what Viswanath's chances of becoming batting coach now would be, Patel added, "That is an altogether other matter. The KSCA post doesn't bar him from accepting any position in the BCCI or the Indian team. There are already state officials with other duties as well."

With Viswanath in the fray, his opponent, the scion of the erstwhile royal family of Mysore, Srikantadatta Narsimharaja Wadiyar, seems shaky. "You can't compare Viswanath to anyone," said Patel. "He is a living legend". Patel himself is likely to face former BCCI pitch committee chairman G Kasturi Rangan in a fight for KSCA secretary, probably in September.

First Published: Jun 14, 2007 03:13 IST