Indian Premier League 2009

Kolkata to have one captain and many 'strategists'

Nagraj Gollapudi

March 31, 2009

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John Buchanan, Shah Rukh Khan and Sourav Ganguly unveil the Kolkata franchise's jersey, Indian Premier League, Kolkata, March 11, 2008
The Kolkata Knight Riders insist everything is hunky-dory © AFP
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The Kolkata Knight Riders have tried to put a lid on the controversy generated by John Buchanan's theory of multiple captains by releasing a statement that during a game the team would resort to a group of "strategists" who would report to one on-field captain while making decisions.

This move could be seen as a climbdown from coach Buchanan's plan for more than one captain on the field but arguably the only difference now is that the term "captain" has been replaced by "strategist".

Despite this latest decision, team sources have told Cricinfo that a compromise formula could lead to Sourav Ganguly captaining the team in the first five games after which, based on the team's position, the role will be open to others.

After Buchanan's radical theory stirred a controversy on the eve of the team's departure to South Africa, Ganguly and Buchanan met at the residence of their franchise owner Shah Rukh Khan. Jai Mehta, who owns a stake in the team, was also present at the nearly four-hour long meeting.

"Needless to say the term 'multi-captains' has raised a few eyebrows and questions. The idea is to have a set of strategists as is always the case classically in cricket, who will form a team of 4 to 5 core experts in the field of fielding, bowling, batting and data, etc," the statement read. "These coaches or strategists will assist the one captain on field with their viewpoints on the game-plan set earlier or shoot from the hip as the case maybe."

The statement stressed that there would be only one captain, who would be fed with suggestions from this core group of strategists. "The captain for the team is one and only one as in the case of most sports. Just the roles which are there in the regular format of the game as the fielding expert, batting coaches, are being better defined to be able to give quick suggestions ... All internal decisions are taken collectively by the core cricketing team which comprises John, Sourav, Matthew Mott (assistant coach) and a few others."

"In Twenty20 there is so much happening that if you can ease the burden on one person, then that might be a good idea," Mott said. "There are some great leaders in this franchise, and there is going to be a bit of a turnover of players during the tournament, so if you can share some of the responsibility around that might help. It happened unofficially last season to a certain extent."

The management has also made it clear that a final decision on the captain will only be taken after the team's camp in South Africa. "As the team is not decided because of overseas venue changes, etc ... we will take the call on the issue of captain, vice-captain, the team, post the sessions in South Africa, prior to the first game. Reason for doing so is not to shirk the issue of who is the captain but to announce all that together to make that a cohesive decision from the team management to avoid confusion like it has resulted right now," the statement said.

Kolkata will be training at Bloemfontein from April 5 and players will leave in various batches starting today.

Nagraj Gollapudi is an assistant editor at Cricinfo. With inputs from Alex Brown

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