The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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1-year extension for Wright
- Whatmore approached to head NCA

Calcutta: The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has decided to extend coach John Wright’s contract by a year. Simultaneously, outgoing Sri Lanka coach Dav Whatmore has been approached to head the Bangalore-located National Cricket Academy (NCA).

According to The Telegraph’s sources, the Wright-decision — which will be ratified at the April 26-27 working committee meeting — was taken at an informal session of the BCCI’s office-bearers in New Delhi Monday.

The office-bearers had assembled for the World Cup squad’s felicitation by President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam.

Significantly, the contracts of physio Andrew Leipus and physical trainer Adrian le Roux will also be similarly extended. All three key members of Team India’s support staff, therefore, will be around till after the 2003-2004 tour of Australia.

As of now, their contracts (after an informal extension) are till May 24.

Wright has been coach from November 2000, while Leipus has been around October 1999 onwards. Le Roux has just completed a year.

Apparently, somebody spoke about getting Fanie de Villiers on board as the bowling coach but, as sources pointed out, there wasn’t a serious discussion.

Had both de Villiers and the BCCI reached an understanding towards the end of last year, the former South African quick would have worked with the Zaheer Khans in the lead-up to the World Cup.

The more dramatic (and exciting) development, of course, has been on the Whatmore-front. After all, in time to come, the 1996 World Cup-winning coach could have a much bigger role to play.


Though Lanka-born, Whatmore played big-time cricket for Australia. As coach, however, his tie-ups have been with Lanka and Lancashire.

Contacted in Sharjah — where World Cup semi-finalists Lanka failed to qualify for the four-nation meet’s final — late Tuesday, Whatmore confirmed “discussions” were on, but declined to go into details.

Speaking exclusively, he said: “Talks are going on… I’m in the process of making up my mind, though… I should be better-placed to answer questions in a few days…”

One understands a senior BCCI functionary is handling the Whatmore-file, with a “dialogue” having been initiated after the Board of Control for Cricket in Sri Lanka decided not to extend his second innings, which formally ends next month.

Assuming that Whatmore does accept the BCCI offer, his family is unlikely to move out of Colombo. He will, then, shuttle between Bangalore and the Lanka capital.

While the NCA took off (in 2000) with Hanumant Singh and Vasu Paranjpe as the two coaches, Balwinder Singh Sandhu was the top gun in 2001 and 2002. Rodney Marsh, by the way, has been the high-profile consultant.

Now, a change is very much in the air.

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