Former Indian cricketer Akash Chopra has opened up about the sour relation that existed between Sourav Ganguly and Australian coach John Buchanan at KKR in the first two editions of the league.
Chopra, who was also a part of KKR squad for the first two seasons, stated that the relationship was decent in the beginning, but started to take a dubious turn after KKR failed on all fronts to win matches. The Kolkata-based franchise finished at sixth position in their first season.
“In the first year of IPL, there was John Buchanan [as coach], [fellow Australian] Ricky Ponting was also there. Sourav Ganguly was the captain. I have seen this from close quarters – their relationship was alright to begin with, but it worsened [with time],” revealed Chopra on his YouTube channel.
Buchanan, who had previously led the mighty Australians to the World Cup championship in 2003, came up with an audacious proposition of ‘multiple captain’ theory. KKR captain Ganguly was never consulted, and he was reportedly furious about it.
The discordance between both of them over various issues escalated to such extent that Buchanan wanted to strip Ganguly from his captaincy post.
“Buchanan’s way of working was different, and Sourav had a different temperament. In the end, he also wanted to remove Sourav Ganguly from captaincy, which actually happened the following season [in 2009, when Brendon McCullum was named captain], because in the first season, the team came sixth [on the points table], and then they came eighth when Sourav was not the captain.”
However, Buchanan’s decision to appoint a new captain backfired as they finished the tournament at the bottom of points-table. Eventually, KKR management replaced the Aussie coach with Dav Whatmore, and the Kolkata-born southpaw was reinstated as a captain for next edition.
“Eventually, John Buchanan had to leave. Some of the things, because I was privy to that, were overstated, like they talked about making three captains, which was not the case. But, that’s what happens. If one thing is wrong, it becomes a domino effect, other things also go wrong, and it’s said that nothing was good during his leadership,” Chopra said.
“It left a little sour taste. It stands out like a sore thumb in KKR’s history.”