Moody and Chappell in the fray as IPL coaches
The main news surrounding the Indian Premier League (IPL) concerns the players' auction in Mumbai next week, and the contracts tangle with Cricket Australia, but there is hectic activity at another level - team owners have begun to zero in some of the game's best- known coaching names.
Tom Moody, the former Sri Lanka coach, Greg Chappell, the former India coach, and Victoria's Greg Shipperd top the list of those on the verge of tying up with various IPL teams, Cricinfo has learned.
John Buchanan is the other big name in the mix though the former World-Cup winning Australian coach has clarified that he would sign up with one of the eight teams only if he is able to utilise his "skills of building something unique, special and sustainable in the long-term".
Chappell currently heads a private academy in Rajasthan, run by Lalit Modi, the IPL commissioner, and he has been sounded out by the Jaipur franchise, owned by Investors In Cricket, a media group. And Moody, it is learnt, is expected to take a call on Friday on an offer from the Mohali franchise, owned by an Indian business consortium including Bollywood actor Preity Zinta.
Shipperd, who steered Victoria to victory in the Pura Cup in 2003-04 and to the final in 2005-06, has been linked to the Delhi team owned by construction major GMR, said sources in the franchise.
India's current coaching staff is also in the fray, with fielding coach Robin Singh almost certain to sign up with the Chennai franchise owned by India Cements. And Venkatesh Prasad, the bowling coach, has emerged as a strong candidate for the Bangalore team owned by Indian liquor baron Vijay Mallya, said sources.
Both Bangalore and Mumbai, owned by petrochemical major Reliance Industries, are also believed to be very keen on Buchanan playing a significant role. But a representative from the Bangalore franchise refused to confirm any move in this direction.
In an email response to Cricinfo, Buchanan said: "If I was to sign with a franchise, I would need to know that I was employed to do more than just coach a team. I would like to be able to utilise my skills of building something unique, special and sustainable in the long-term. Obviously that would mean that a franchise owner and I would need to have a compatible vision for the future."
But Buchanan admitted that the very concept of IPL is of "great interest" to him. "As I have always said - I think the franchise structure with the Twenty20 format is something very exciting for cricket, and something of which I have a great interest."
Ajay Shankar is a deputy editor Cricinfo in Bangalore