The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Hello, grandad’s army
Board recalls Borde

New Delhi, June 12: Last September, the genial Chandu Borde travelled to Kuala Lumpur with a one-point agenda: To get the Indian cricketers, who were in the Malaysian capital for a tri-series, to visit the Global Indian International School.

Much to his and the kids’ delight, senior pro Sachin Tendulkar took a small group there on an off-day. Borde is one of the school’s trustees.

For the next two-and-a-half months, though, the players will be making requests. Borde, after all, has been appointed cricket manager for the June 20-September 9 tour of Ireland, Scotland and England.

So, instead of celebrating his 73rd birthday (July 21) in Pune, the former India captain, selection committee chairman and manager is going to cut the cake in England.

That the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) chose to pull him out of retirement is as surprising as Graham Ford’s decision to reject the Team India coach’s job.

It’s another interim arrangement from an organisation which, within the fraternity, has become the laughing stock. All because of the clumsy manner in which it has gone about recruiting Greg Chappell’s successor.

That somebody who should really be taking things easy has been put in the firing line confirms the BCCI didn’t have a Plan B when the seven-member special committee called Ford and John Emburey for the presentations.

Borde’s last managerial assignment had been all of 18 years ago, in Pakistan.

BCCI president Sharad Pawar suggested Borde’s name during this afternoon’s working committee meeting. In keeping with Indian tradition, it was unanimously accepted.

According to The Telegraph’s sources, the process was set in motion when former president Raj Singh Dungarpur “recommended” Borde to Pawar.

Mahendra Singh Dhoni
Made vice- captain for the Ireland and Scotland tour
Virender Sehwag
Dropped from the ODI side

Borde said from Pune: “It has come like a bolt from the blue. I’m happy, but I wasn’t expecting this.”

He added: “I haven’t received anything in writing, but (chief administrative officer) Prof. Ratnakar Shetty called. I’ll be involving the seniors and working closely with the specialist coaches. I’m for taking decisions collectively.”

Raj Singh was the only one present at today’s meeting to label Ford’s U-turn “very embarrassing”. He also felt that the special committee, which offered the job to the South African, ought not to have gone public till Kent’s position was clear. “It’s bad. The episode has embarrassed the BCCI. The special committee should have waited for Ford to be released by Kent or taken his consent in writing. Our image has been affected.”

Raj Singh had ensured John Wright’s smooth transfer from the same county in November 2000. It’s a pity that Pawar and Co. didn’t take advantage of his contacts in the UK.

While suggesting Borde’s name, Pawar informed the working committee (and the special invitees) that former captain Ravi Shastri had declined a second innings as interim cricket manager.

Shastri was one of the special invitees. Another former captain, Sunil Gavaskar, as well. Both “briefed” the members about what unfolded during the presentations.

According to a source, Shastri (who initiated the dialogue with Ford) disagreed with Raj Singh. “It’s no embarrassment when somebody goes back on his word.”

Spokesman N. Srinivasan took the same line: “It happens in life.... With Ford, it wasn’t ‘if’ but ‘when’.”

Srinivasan, a member of the special committee, added that he and his colleagues would start a fresh hunt. At best, he was vague.

Pawar, one understands, emphasised that “nothing” ought to be done in haste.The idea of putting out a global advertisement wasn’t encouraged. The BCCI, clearly, doesn’t believe in learning lessons.

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