The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Dav is out, Ford is favourite
- Sunny has his way, almost

Bangalore, June 4: Captain Rahul Dravid’s choice, Graham Ford, has emerged the frontrunner to succeed Greg Chappell as the full-time Team India coach.

Till last night, Dav Whatmore had been in front and the South African, who is now with Kent, was no more than the dark horse.

Whatmore got knocked out thanks in large measure to former captain Sunil Gavaskar’s highly critical assessment of his strategy-specific skills during the seven-member special committee’s 90-minute meeting tonight.

That the Australian could have to pay for Bangladesh’s tactical blunder in last month’s Dhaka Test, which gave the series to India on a platter, had been talked about in these columns.

According to The Telegraph’s sources, Ford has a “90 per cent” chance of being invited by the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) to work with the Sachin Tendulkars.

He has already been asked to meet the committee in Chennai on Saturday.

Making that announcement, treasurer N. Srinivasan said the committee had another candidate in mind, but contact “couldn’t” be established with him.

While sources declined to reveal his identity, they confirmed that Duncan Fletcher and Arjuna Ranatunga weren’t those being considered.

The other candidate has been recommended by one of the three former captains on the committee. Srinivas Venkatraghavan and Ravi Shastri are the ones besides Gavaskar.

That Whatmore is out of the frame is a “victory” for Gavaskar, who’d been tearing into him in his columns. At the same time, he failed to push through his agenda of a desi coach.

After all, the other candidate is also a foreigner. Perhaps an Australian.

It’s somewhat unusual that the BCCI is moving ahead on the Ford front even though he’d been removed as coach by South Africa in 2001.

In fact, secretary Niranjan Shah (who’d been telling the world that Whatmore had the best chance) left the meeting ashen-faced. And, before deliberations began in the Board Room of the Grand Ashok, one of the members quietly accepted he knew “nothing” about Ford.

The meeting was chaired by BCCI president Sharad Pawar.

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