India players abused former coach, says Gavaskar

India’s outgoing cricket coach John Wright may not have renewed his contract because he was humiliated by players under his command, Indian legend Sunil Gavaskar claimed on Monday.

“One of the things that may have made up John’s mind not to renew his contract could have been the way some players treated him in the last year,” Gavaskar wrote in his widely syndicated column.

“He was told off and sworn at by some players.”

Wright, a former New Zealand captain, stepped down as India’s first foreign coach in April after a five-year tenure, having declined an offer by the Indian cricket board to remain coach till the 2007 World Cup in the West Indies.

Australian batting great Greg Chappell was appointed Wright’s successor last week by a six-man selection panel that included Gavaskar, two other former captains Ravi Shastri and Srinivas Venkatraghavan and three administrators.

Media reports suggested that Gavaskar wanted an Indian to coach the national team, although cricket board president Ranbir Singh Mahendra said the decision to appoint Chappell was “unanimous”.

Gavaskar’s startling claim—without naming any player—was made in the context of a debate whether the team needed an Indian or a foreign coach. He said the column, printed across India over the last two days, was written before the panel met on Thursday to pick a new coach.

“One thing is sure—however inefficient an Indian coach would be, there is little chance that he could be abused to his face by any player, however big the players may be,” Gavaskar wrote.

The Indian cricket board played down Gavaskar’s claim.

“We never received any complaints from Wright about players’ behaviour,” said Mahendra.

“I don’t think he would have taken such a thing lightly.”

Senior Indian players like Sourav Ganguly, Rahul Dravid and Sachin Tendulkar are holidaying abroad and are not available for comment.

Wright has returned home to New Zealand. - Sapa-AFP

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