The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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KKR crown beckons Sourav
- Shah Rukh, icon touch base; Wright tops coach list

July 25: Kolkata Knight Riders principal owner Shah Rukh Khan is understood to be moving towards reinstating icon Sourav Ganguly as captain and getting on board John Wright, who’d shared a strong bond with Sourav for much of his five-plus years as the Team India coach.

Having finished third from the bottom and last, in the first two editions of the Indian Premier League (IPL), the year 2010 will either “make or break” the franchise.

Shah Rukh knows that only too well, which is why the ego bit won’t be coming into the picture.

Wright is currently employed by New Zealand Cricket, but “shouldn’t” have problems in ending his contract. Man management is his forte and the Knights’ dressing room could do with his reassuring presence.

“The odds strongly favour the renewal of that (Sourav-Wright) partnership.… Things are definitely moving in that direction, but Shah Rukh is also keen to have an Indian in a key coaching position,” a well-placed source told The Telegraph this afternoon.

Paras Mhambrey, Woorkeri Raman and Chandrakant Pandit are being talked of (in that order) for the desi slot. Not that the Lalchand Rajputs aren’t lobbying.

Shah Rukh and Sourav, one learns, interacted in the UK last week and, by all accounts, their one-on-ones went off “very well”. Both are understood to have spoken as recently as yesterday as well.

Quite a change from the chill in South Africa, during the IPL’s second edition.

Indeed, there had been little in common between the two after Shah Rukh endorsed John Buchanan’s idea of removing Sourav as captain.

That was in mid-April, just days before the action got under way.

Buchanan, whose contract has been terminated, elevated Brendon McCullum to the captaincy. McCullum, though, is unlikely to be available for more than a few matches in 2010.

That’s because of commitments with New Zealand. He’s the vice-captain.

Even if McCullum were available for the entire edition, he wouldn’t keep the captaincy. For one, it definitely affected his free-flowing game and, then, he didn’t exactly come across as tactically astute.

Contacted in Brisbane, Buchanan declined to comment on the very strong possibility of Sourav regaining the captaincy. “I am no more with the franchise, so I have nothing to say,” he said, speaking exclusively.

That Sourav could have a bigger role in 2010 was, in fact, reported in these columns on May 31.

His contract with the franchise is till next year, but a memorable third edition may extend that association.

One of the hats Shah Rukh wears is that of a businessman and, clearly, with the IPL returning to India, he can’t afford to antagonise Calcuttans for long.

The Eden will, after all, host the Knights’ home matches and there's no bigger draw around than Sourav. So, it would be bad business to repeat the treatment meted out to Sourav in South Africa.

It’s highly unlikely that Shah Rukh would’ve gone along with Buchanan had this year's IPL not been moved overseas.

As of now, Dadagiri days are ahead.

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