x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

Buchanan book is 'taken out of context'

Former Australia coach John Buchanan has defended himself after excerpts from his new book The Future of Cricket: The Rise of Twenty20 drew widespread criticism in India.

Former Australia coach John Buchanan has defended himself after excerpts from his new book The Future of Cricket: The Rise of Twenty20 drew widespread criticism in India. The country's media have poured scorn on Buchanan's targeting of former captain Saurav Ganguly, who plays for Knight Riders - the Australian's former team - Sunil Gavaskar, a member of the Indian Premier League board and Harbhajan and Yuvraj Singh.

Buchanan ended a two-year spell with IPL franchise Kolkata Knight Riders after the team finished bottom of the standings in May, and a considerable section of his book discusses the two-year old league, its players and officials. However, Buchanan insists the controversial excerpts have been taken out of context, saying: "People would have to read the entire book to understand its meaning." In the serialisations, Buchanan says the frenetic pace of Twenty20 is unsuited to senior players such as Ganguly, Sachin Tendulkar and Rahul Dravid, as well as Australian captain Ricky Ponting.

Ganguly, India's most successful international captain, had a strained relationship with the Australians. In 2001, he left rival captain Steve Waugh fuming by turning up late for the toss, before rallying the hosts to an upset Test series win. Yuvraj, who has taken over the batting slot vacated after Ganguly's international retirement, captains IPL's Kings XI Punjab. "Yuvraj Singh in a sense tries to be a modern-day Ganguly, but I don't think he has the charisma or the dignity with which Ganguly carries himself," Buchanan writes.

Indian spinner Harbhajan Singh and former Australian all-rounder Tom Moody, who Buchanan quoted to indicate Yuvraj's poor behaviour, were first to speak out. "I was surprised to hear that I have been quoted in John Buchanan's most recent book," said Kings XI coach Moody. "I've neither read the book nor been intimated by John about its release with my supposed quotes. "I was rather taken aback to read of my reference to Yuvraj and I certainly cannot recall any such conversation. I'm not in the habit of airing team laundry on such trivial matters."

Buchanan has also said Harbhajan often ignited controversies but stepped away to avoid the repercussions. Harbhajan sparked a major row on the Test tour of Australia in Jan 2008 when the International Cricket Council (ICC) match referee found him guilty of racially abusing Andrew Symonds during the Sydney Test. Harbhajan appealed his ban and was eventually let off with a fine for the lesser offence of using abusive language.

"The great coach indeed had some great comments to make, just like his great coaching methods," scoffed Harbhajan. "I'm not surprised at this. This is not the first time an Australian has showered his praise on me and I'm pretty certain he won't be the last one either." emegson@thentional.ae