Former Pakistan captain Wasim Akram, former Indian batsman Pravin Amre and ex-India coach John Wright will make their presentations for the Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) coach's post in Mumbai on August 30.
Sourav Ganguly, who is tipped to regain the captaincy next season, indicated that his presence at the meeting had not been finalised yet. "Akram is part of the final few coaches who have been called on August 30," Ganguly told PTI. "He, Wright and Amre have been called. Obviously, I know the names of the coaches in contention but I don't have the authority to reveal them. It's Shah Rukh Khan [the principal owner] and Jay Mehta [co-owner] who will take the decision, but I have a say in that. "
The coach's post was left vacant after KKR sacked John Buchanan, the coach for the first two seasons, following a bottom-placed finish among the eight teams in the second season held in South Africa.
Akram's candidature, however, is not expected to carry much weight because, as one franchise official said, the former Pakistani legend would essentially be a bowling coach. It is learnt that Akram himself is less keen on a full-time coach's job and would like to work as a consultant.
Ganguly said Shah Rukh did have a word with Akram on the matter. "Yeah, I have good relations with Wasim Akram," said Ganguly. "He was a great bowler. Though I know him very well but it was SRK who had a chat with Wasim."
One round of interviews was concluded last weekend. Matthew Mott, who was Buchanan's assistant at KKR, was interviewed because the franchise owners are keen to start on a fresh note and felt that he should be given an opportunity to present his case. Also interviewed were Richard Pybus, Michael Bevan, Dermot Reeves and Duncan Fletcher, while former Indian batsmen WV Raman, Ashok Malhotra and Lalchand Rajput made their presentations in front of Shah Rukh, Mehta and Ganguly earlier this week.
Amre, was assistant coach of the Mumbai Indians for the second season of the IPL and his expertise would, no doubt, be extremely valuable. Wright, who is also keen on coming "back to India" is currently in Chennai with the New Zealand A side that is playing in the Buchi Babu Tournament.
However, any final decision will be taken only after the franchise owners meet Wright, who was initially touted as a strong frontrunner for the job because of his past association as India coach and rapport with Ganguly, the then captain.
The franchise owners have subsequently played down Wright's chances and insisted that the team is looking for a coach with Twenty20 coaching experience, which has shifted the spotlight to Pybus and Reeve. But the fact that Wright will be one of the last of a reported 18 candidates to be interviewed and that his role with New Zealand Cricket was recently revised to a consultancy capacity indicate that the former opener is still very much in the frame.
Kolkata Knight Riders
Indian Premier League