Kolkata to have multiple captains
The Kolkata Knight Riders have decided not to have a fixed captain for the IPL this season. John Buchanan, the coach, told a press conference that the decision was "not a slight" to Sourav Ganguly but a plan for the future. He said there could be four or five captains through the tournament.
A grim-looking Ganguly, sitting beside Buchanan at the press conference, refused to elaborate on the decision and simply said the concept was new and needed to be assessed as it went on. Asked if he was upset by it, Ganguly did not answer directly and Buchanan interjected: "Of course he will be upset. He is the Prince of Kolkata." Ganguly laughed and put his hands up and said "I am not upset".
Ganguly said the plan was Buchanan's. "He is the coach of the team and he has got the right to make decisions. We'll see as it goes along. At the end of the day we all have to deliver."
Buchanan was at pains to explain that the multiple-captains theory was not prompted by a lack of confidence in Ganguly's leadership skills. "In fact it could actually be of benefit to someone like him because it could free him up for his batting, when he just needs to his batting or for his fielding when he just needs to do his fielding or when he needs to just do his bowling without the burden of the twenty-over format on his shoulders. At the same stage we might be asking him to make some key decisions for us. It has nothing to do with Sourav Ganguly whatsoever. It has everything to do with how I perceive the 20-over game and what the demands are running that game should be."
He sought to dismiss any rumours of differences between the coach and current captain and said the media were assuming there was controversy. "One of the things that we did agree on yesterday: if there is indecision out there, if there is poor communication or confusion then it has to come back to one point. But at the moment we have plenty of time in which to work through this and I think with Sourav's help, with [Chris] Gayle's help, with [Brad] Hodge's help, with [Brendon] McCullum's help and with the help of the other players it will work fine. "
Buchanan said the possibility of Ganguly not being an automatic choice in the XI was not an issue at the moment. "All we are doing right at this stage is that we have no concept of the schedule, what it looks like and where we are playing - all those sorts of things. Whether Sourav is in the side in three weeks or four weeks time at this stage is irrelevant."
Buchanan had told Cricinfo he was keen to change the whole approach to captaincy and leadership in cricket. "I really think in the course of this 20-over tournament we have the capacity to have the team coach, Matthew Mott, running the batting side of things. If we have to change the batting order or change personnel to fit a certain situation, then that is something that could fall under his control.
"Once on the field, we have some very good leaders there in Chris Gayle, Brendon McCullum, Brad Hodge and Sourav Ganguly. The laws of the game state that you need a captain for certain formal roles, such as the coin toss, but that aside, I see there is scope to challenge the way teams have been run in the past.
"This is more like how Ric Charlesworth runs the Australian women's hockey team. Everyone takes a leadership role."