Calcutta: In a welcome departure from the past, Indians doing County duty won’t be made to ‘break’ contract and return for the pre-season conditioning camp, slated this time for mid-August, in Bangalore.
“Both the captain (Sourav Ganguly) and I believe it’s best that the quartet continues to remain in England. It’s a view that has met with the approval of the Board president (Jagmohan Dalmiya),” informed Team India coach John Wright.
Speaking to The Telegraph from Chennai late Monday, shortly before returning home (New Zealand) for around 25 days, he added: “I suppose the Board’s working committee, too, won’t have a problem with this arrangement.”
With Jawagal Srinath back from Durham, Virender Sehwag (Leicestershire), Mohammed Kaif (Derbyshire) and Yuvraj Singh (Yorkshire) are the ones doing County duty. Also on the circuit is vice-captain Rahul Dravid (Scotland).
Their contracts run till mid-September.
According to Wright, who had a hectic four weeks (since returning from New Zealand) despite no Team India commitments, the fortnight-long camp will be “tough.”
As he put it: “Sourav feels it must be so and, given that we haven’t played since the second-half of April, I couldn’t agree more. Ideally, 20-25 players should be shortlisted.”
For Team India, the 2003-2004 season begins with the two-Test series against New Zealand in October. The start, of course, will be earlier if New Delhi okays the resumption of bilateral ties with Pakistan.
In that eventuality, there will be a short tour of Pakistan in September.
Wright, by the way, had a brief one-to-one with Srinath the other day (in Bangalore), but the senior pro wasn’t particularly forthcoming about his future.
“I did ask whether his mind was made up — on quitting or otherwise — but he only indicated he was (still) in the process of working things out. That’s fine and I don’t wish to rush him,” the coach pointed out.
Incidentally, Wright met top-notch sport psychologist Sandy Gordon during the day and discussed the possibility of his (again) being associated with Team India — specifically on the tour of Australia end-November onwards.
The Perth-based Gordon, it may be recalled, had a couple of sessions with Sourav and Co. in the lead-up to our World Cup 2003 campaign. Moreover, it was at his suggestion that a theme — ‘Now or Never’ — was decided upon.
“Gordon has a very busy schedule of lectures, but something can surely be worked out. And, yes, he has recommended we have a fresh theme for our Australian trip,” Wright revealed, signing off.
The Board’s clearance, on engaging Gordon yet again, is a formality.