Ford rejects offer to coach Indian team

London, June 11:

Graham Ford has snubbed an offer to become India’s new coach in favour of staying on in his current role as director of cricket at English county Kent.

The South African’s decision, announced on Monday, will come as a major blow to Indian cricket chiefs who believed they had reached an agreement with Ford that would see him take over the India team on a one-year contract before the end of this month.

The 46-year-old was selected for the role on Saturday following and had been due to tell his new employers when he could start work by Monday. Instead, he revealed that he had a change of heart. “I am very grateful to the Club for allowing me to go to India to find out more about the job of coaching the Indian Team,” he said in a statement released by Kent.

“I have had a chance to reflect on the offer made by the BCCI and their urgency to fill the vacant position. After careful consideration, I have decided to continue my work here at Kent. This has been a really difficult decision. I am honoured that India have shown such interest in my capabilities, but feel that this is the right decision for me and my family.”

The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) now faces a race against time to find a successor to Greg Chappell ahead of the scheduled one-day internationals against Ireland and South Africa between June 23 and July 1, and Test series in England.

The BCCI said Ford’s refusal and the future course of action will be discussed at a previously scheduled meeting of its working committee in New Delhi on Tuesday. “Ford has informed us he can’t take up the job,” BCCI treasurer N Srinivasan said. “We will now place the matter before the working committee which will decide on the next step.”

Ford was chosen by a seven-member panel, headed by BCCI president Sharad Pawar and which included former captains Sunil Gavaskar, Srinivas Venkataraghavan and Ravi Shastri. India could turn to former England spinner John Emburey, who was also interviewed on Saturday. But that would leave them open to accusations of having settled for a ‘second choice’ candidate.