The hunt for India's coach June 5, 2007

Arthur gives Ford the thumbs up

Cricinfo staff

Mickey Arthur feels that Ford could be the man to steer the listing Indian ship out of choppy waters © Getty Images

Kent County Cricket Club have given Graham Ford, currently its Director of Coaching, permission to travel to India after the former South African coach emerged as the frontrunner to take over the Indian coaching reins. Ford's contract with Kent runs till the end of the 2008 season, but Paul Millman, the county's chief executive, said: "He has been approached by the BCCI about the job with the Indian National team and we have allowed him the opportunity to travel to India to find out more about the role."

Ford himself wasn't burning any bridges just yet. "I'm really enjoying my time at Kent and particularly the team's recent success," he said. "The Indian Board has approached me in regard to their vacancy and I am grateful to the club for allowing me the chance to talk to them."

Ford's credentials have been endorsed by Mickey Arthur, one of his successors as South African coach. Arthur is in Bangalore as coach of the Africa team contesting the Afro-Asia Cup, and he said: "Graham (Ford) is the man India would need at this moment. He is very hard working and gets the best out of the players. He will do a very good job if given the chance.

"He's a fantastic man. If he does get selected he would do a fantastic job. India need a guy who can lead them and Graham will be there as the ideal backroom man."

The 46-year-old Ford, who was the South Africa coach after the late Bob Woolmer stepped down in 1999, was named one of two candidates to take over as coach of the Indian team from former Australia captain Greg Chappell by a seven-man panel which met in Bangalore on Monday night. The panel has invited Ford and a second person - thought to be John Emburey, the former England offspinner - for another parley in Chennai on June 9 before making a final decision.