Sulking Rajput awaits new role

Lalchand Rajput cannot figure out why the historic T20 WC win and the sensational tri-series triumph in Australia could not save his job.

updated: April 08, 2008 08:24 IST
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New Delhi:

Jettisoned by the BCCI in the recent support staff shakeup, former Team India manager Lalchand Rajput cannot figure out why the historic Twenty20 World Cup win and the sensational tri-series triumph in Australia could not save his job.

"Obviously it's disappointing to see that I have not been retained. I tried my best and the results too are also there. But I guess I can't do anything about it. I have to be positive about the whole thing," a sulking Rajput told PTI from Mumbai.

BCCI last week retained fielding coach Robin Singh and bowling coach Venkatesh Prasad for India's Test series against South Africa but Rajput, who served as the assistant coach in Australia, got no such favour.

Asked what would be his new role now, Rajput said he was waiting for a word from the BCCI.

"I'm waiting to hear from the Board. I'm sure they have something in mind," he said.

After Greg Chappell packed his bag to end his roller-coaster two-year stint, India were without a full-time coach, with Ravi Shastri and Chandu Borde volunteering to guide the side during its tour of Bangladesh and England.

Rajput then took over as the manager of the Indian Twenty20 team and the side under Mahendra Singh Dhoni, despite lack of exposure in the bang-bang version of the game, went on to win the title.

And though India could not beat Australia when Ricky Ponting came here with his team here last year, beating arch-rivals Pakistan in another ODI series was a highlight for the team.

With the team doing pretty well, some of the senior players apparently felt the side did not need a full-time coach at all and could continue with the existing set-up.

Rajput, however, felt having a full-time coach was a must.

"Maybe that was the view of some people but if you ask me, you have to have a full-time coach, there can't be two opinions about that," he said.

Looking back at his stint with the side, Rajput said the Twenty20 World Cup win was the obvious high point.

"I would put the Twenty20 World Cup above all, even though beating Australia at their own backyard and winning the tri-series would come a close second. It was not like beating any other team in any other tournament," he said.

While the tri-series triumph in Australia was a reason for unbridled joy, it was there that he faced the biggest challenge of his stint, Rajput said.

"It was a real challenge to stay focussed after the Sydney Test (which was marred by a racism row). There your man-management skill is put into Test. But we stayed together there and overcame the episode. It was a learning experience for me as well," he recalled.

Rajput does not grudge Gary Kirsten or any foreigner taking over the coaching reins but expects the Board to give opportunity to Indian players as well.

"You have a lot of coaching options now and the Indians have delivered the results too. I think at some point of time, the Board would appoint an Indian for the job," said the former player, who could well be the one.