India sack bowling, fielding coaches

MUMBAI: India's cricket chiefs on Thursday sacked the national team's bowling and fielding coaches after the side's first-round exit from the Champions Trophy in South Africa.

The Indian cricket board "has decided to discontinue the services of bowling coach Venkatesh Prasad and fielding coach Robin Singh with immediate effect," board secretary N. Srinivasan said in a terse one-line statement.

Srinivasan did not detail why the two former India internationals, who had been involved with the national team since the tour of Bangladesh in May 2007, were removed.

The board is expected to name their replacements before the seven-match one-day home series against world champions Australia, which opens on October 25.

An unnamed board official was quoted by Cricinfo as saying that head coach Gary Kirsten and captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni were not part of the decision.

Prasad and Singh had faced heavy criticism over the team's poor bowling and fielding, which saw India fail to make the semi-finals of the World Twenty20 in June and the Champions Trophy last month.

Prasad, a right-arm seamer who claimed 96 Test and 196 one-day wickets, said he had not been informed of his sudden removal.

"But if this is true, I am deeply disappointed and hurt," he told Cricinfo. "I have no doubt that I have done my job for the Indian team to the best of my abilities.

"I will try to contact the Indian board and find out what I did wrong that has led them to take this decision."

Singh, who scored 2,336 runs and claimed 69 wickets in 131 one-day internationals, had recently been appointed coach of Sachin Tendulkar's Mumbai Indians team in the Indian Premier League.