Chappell likely to stay on as India's coach
Greg Chappell is likely to stay on as India's coach irrespective of the team's performance in the World Cup, contrary to the widely held belief that his future with Indian cricket is linked to the World Cup.
Cricinfo has learnt that the the Board of Control for Cricket of India (BCCI) is keen to retain the services of Chappell, whose two-year tenure comes to an end in May, for the large-scale rebuilding of the team if it fails to perform well in the World Cup.
A senior member of the Board told Cricinfo today that it will not be the coach, but the non-performing players who will come under the scanner.
The national selection committee has already sent a strong message - perform or be dropped - to India's cricketers but the case of Virender Sehwag is not an isolated one. Sections of the BCCI have grown increasingly worried about the team¹s stagnation and the recent poor performances and are no longer willing to sit back and watch.
Traditionally the office bearers of the BCCI have taken a back seat when it comes to the actual business of bat and ball, preferring to concentrate on administering the game and raising funds while leaving cricket to the selectors, the coach and the captain.
However, indications are that they have had enough, and are raising serious questions about the attitude of certain senior players who have failed to deliver as expected.
In the past, senior players have been virtually untouchable, despite suffering from poor form or carrying niggling injuries. But, if a senior Indian board official is to be believed, this is set to end quickly.
"The way we see it, the World Cup could be a last hurrah for certain players," he said. "If the performance in the World Cup is not up to our expectations, then you can expect a number of changes. No one will be spared, no matter how big he is."
Critically, in all this, the Board has given events a complete twist by strongly suggesting that Greg Chappell, the coach, could continue after the World Cup.
"He is a good coach. What can he do if players are not performing?" asked the official. "It is media speculation and an assumption among the players that Chappell's contract will not be renewed after the World Cup."
Only recently Dilip Vengsarkar and Chappell had visited Shashank Manohar, a vice-president of the BCCI who has repeatedly called for more accountability from the players and has been in the forefront of implementing a system where players will be paid in correlation to the performance of the team.
That system is set to be put in place shortly and the latest round of assurances from the board to the coach could well result in a scenario where no player can take his place for granted.
Anand Vasu is assistant editor of Cricinfo