The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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BCCI’S reassurance to top players

Calcutta: The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has “reassured” seniors their interests will be “protected” during the Player Terms-negotiations with the International Cricket Council (ICC).

This was conveyed by president Jagmohan Dalmiya during his 45-minute (informal) interaction with captain Sourav Ganguly, vice-captain Rahul Dravid and senior pro Sachin Tendulkar at the airport Sunday morning, prior to the Indian team’s departure for New Zealand.

Dalmiya would have met them on Saturday itself, but Sachin and Dravid arrived rather late. The team will be in New Zealand till January 15.

Without going into details, Dalmiya told The Telegraph: “I reassured them that the BCCI stands firm on the Terms’ review and, that, their (and the other cricketers’) interests will be protected… Not that the players had misgivings, but my impression is they felt more comfortable after our interaction.”

It wasn’t necessary for Dalmiya to have said so, but he still did tell the trio that “any one of them” could (if the need arises) be contacted should their views be required on “any development.”

Equally, for the time being, Dalmiya may ‘deal’ with veteran Anil Kumble, who made himself unavailable for the first half of the tour (the two-Test series). Kumble, after all, has been a key member of the cricketers’ campaign against the Terms.

In fact, a Dalmiya-Kumble dialogue will allow the Souravs to wholly concentrate on cricket — during the Test series, at least. More than anything else, the England scenario won’t then be repeated.

The Terms-business has to be resolved before the World Cup (beginning February 9) and Dalmiya is on the ICC’s high-powered committee dealing exclusively with the contentious components.

Significantly, Dalmiya also utilised his airport trip to speak to coach John Wright about the possibility of adding a bowling coach to the Support Team. Apparently, he spoke to the seniors as well.

“No names were discussed,” is all that Dalmiya was willing to reveal. However, he acknowledged the issue was “sensitive” and “numerous considerations” would come into play. Idea, obviously, is to eliminate the chance of any appointment being counter-productive.

Eventually, though, one understands somebody with “enough one-day experience” will probably be shortlisted.

As a well-placed source put it, “our top worry is containing the opposition in the first eight-ten and the last eight-ten overs.” Only somebody who has actually faced the heat (of the initital and the overs of death) will be best-placed to offer appropriate tips.

Dalmiya, it is learnt, had a “general discussion” with the coach as well. It was a “follow-up” to a recent communication from him to Wright, physio Andrew Leipus and trainer Adrian le Roux.

The contracts of all three will be up for renewal after the up-coming quadrennial showpiece.

Meanwhile, unless the ICC serves a reminder, the BCCI is unlikely to announce the 30 World Cup probables in a hurry.

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