Selection worries returned to haunt former India skipper Sourav Ganguly who apparently finds himself out of favour with the Kolkata Knight Riders with cricket manager John Buchanan not keen on picking the left-hander for IPL second season to be hosted outside India.
“With venues likely to be in South Africa or England, the condition and seaming track is a worrying factor for Buchanan who feels Ganguly does not fall in the T20 scheme of things,” a Knight Riders official said.
“Approaching 37 years, Ganguly is not a clear choice for Buchanan who has already decided on the captaincy. It needs the approval from team boss Shah Rukh Khan who is out of the country,” the official said.
While sources claimed the two-time World Cup winning Australian coach was unhappy with Ganguly’s fitness, Buchanan has already made it clear the team management was still discussing the captaincy issue.
“In fact, Ganguly did not turn up for practice when the coach was here. Buchanan is clearly unhappy about him. He is out of international cricket for quite sometime and Buchanan has serious doubts about his fitness level to suit T20,” the official added.
Names of New Zealand wicketkeeper-batsman Brendon McCullum, West Indies captain Chris Gayle and Australian Brad Hodge are doing the rounds for the captain’s role.
Ganguly has declined to react on Buchanan’s comment about the leadership issue. “I have no comments,” said Ganguly who is perhaps waiting to sort out the matter with Shah Rukh.
The source said Shah Rukh wants Ganguly to be the skipper as his name is synonymous with Kolkata Knight Riders.
The Kolkata franchise, by the way, will have its final camp at Eden Gardens from Wednesday from where the final squad, likely to be pruned to 22, will be decided.
“There will be numerous changes in the 28-member squad, considering the fact that the IPL now would be an overseas affair. Buchanan knows best that the youngsters formula won’t work out in the seaming tracks of South Africa or England… So the side will now have more experienced players like Aakash Chopra,” said the source.
Asked about the apparent rift between Ganguly and Buchanan, Knight Riders CEO Joy Bhattacharya said, “Every year this (some speculation or other) comes out and later dies down. There is absolutely no problem between the two (Ganguly and Buchanan).”
Regarding team selection, Bhattacharya said they are waiting for the venue to be decided first.
“At the moment the final camp with youngsters will begin tomorrow. Depending upon the tournament shifting to either South Africa or England, we will select the final team. It’s not clear whether the overseas players will directly go to the IPL venue or come to attend the camp here in Eden Gardens,” said Bhattacharya.