Graham Ford to be India's next coach
Graham Ford was appointed India's coach on Saturday, filling a two-month-old vacancy and ending a search that seemed to have come to life in only the past week. Ford, the players' choice for the job, has been offered a one-year contract and is expected to start work during India's tour of Ireland later this month.
After hearing the presentations of both Ford and John Emburey, the former England offspinner, the BCCI decided to go with Ford. The decision has to be ratified by the working committee of the Board of Control of Cricket in India, which meets in Delhi on June 12, but that is expected to be a mere formality.
Addressing a haphazard and chaotic press conference soon after hearing presentations from both candidates, and then further deliberating among themselves, N Srinivasan, the BCCI treasurer, said, "The committee constituted to select the next Indian coach met and it was decided that the name of Mr Graham Ford would be put forward for the job of Indian coach."
"It is now for the working committee of the BCCI, which meets in Delhi on June 12, to make the appointment final," Srinivasan said. It is now up to Ford to indicate when he can seek a release from Kent, the English county where he is currently contracted till 2008.
Just as there seems to be no defined season as far as the organising of matches is concerned, it appears that there's no real system when it comes to the holding of meetings. The action began to heat up at the Park Sheraton well before 5pm, as Sharad Pawar was present in the hotel and a massive posse of policemen, in uniform and plainclothes, "secured" the area. From the portico outside the hotel to the main lobby, to the elevators, all passages were dotted with cops.
The first real signs of activity began at about 7.20pm when both Emburey and Ford walked into the hotel. They'd both arrived in Chennai on a British Airways flight in the wee hours of Saturday. Once they'd posed for the gathered television cameras and still photographers, they were ushered up to the room where they would make their presentations.
After the arrival of the candidates came the committee. The trio of board officials - Niranjan Shah, the secretary, Ratnakar Shetty, the chief administrative officer, and Mohinder Pandove, the joint secretary - made their way to the meeting room well before the appointed hour. Next to arrive were two former captains, Ravi Shastri and Srinivas Venkataraghavan. The last man to arrive - and he was pulled away from his holiday in Goa - was Sunil Gavaskar, who clocked in at 8.20pm.
Just over two hours later, Ford had the job. Kent will doubtless be reluctant to see him leave mid-season, but if that issue is resolved quickly, Ford's first assignment might be a three-match series against the team that he coached with distinction for three years at the turn of the millennium.
Anand Vasu is associate editor of Cricinfo