Buchanan book has Indian players hopping mad

IANS
Jul 10, 2009 at 02:20pm IST

New Delhi: Former Australia coach John Buchanan has come under fire in India over comments about the country's players, while he maintains that excerpts from his new book that led to the criticism have been taken out of context.

Spinner Harbhajan Singh and former Australian all-rounder Tom Moody were first to speak out after the media printed excerpts from The Future of Cricket: The Rise of Twenty20 with many pages devoted to the Indian Premier League (IPL).

Buchanan ended a two-year spell with IPL franchise Kolkata Knight Riders after the team finished bottom of the standings in May, before signing up as a coach with the England board last month.

WRTE UP A CONTROVERSY: John Buchanan has devoted many chapters to IPL in his book.

Indian media has focused on his comments on former skipper Saurav Ganguly, who plays for Knight Riders, Sunil Gavaskar, a member of the IPL board, Harbhajan and Yuvraj Singh.

Buchanan says the frenetic pace of Twenty20 is unsuited to senior players such as Ganguly, Sachin Tendulkar and Rahul Dravid as well as Australian skipper Ricky Ponting, all into their 30's, in excerpts published in The Indian Express on Friday.

Ganguly had a strained relationship with Australia. In 2001, he left rival skipper Steve Waugh fuming by turning up late for the toss before rallying the hosts for an upset test series win.

Yuvraj, who has taken over the batting slot vacated after Ganguly's international retirement, captains IPL's Kings XI Punjab.

"Yuvraj Singh in a sense tries to be a modern-day Ganguly, but I don't think he has the charisma or the dignity with which Ganguly carries himself," Buchanan writes.

However, Kings XI coach Moody has reacted angrily after Buchanan quoted him to indicate Yuvraj's poor behaviour.

"I was surprised to hear that I have been quoted in John Buchanan's most recent book," Moody said a statement.

"I've neither read the book nor been intimated by John about it's release with my supposed quotes.

"I was rather taken aback to read of my reference to Yuvraj and I certainly cannot recall any such conversation. I'm not in the habit of airing team laundry on such trivial matters."

Buchanan has also said Harbhajan often ignited controversies but stepped away to avoid the repercussions.

Harbhajan sparked a major row on the test tour of Australia in Jan. 2008 when the International Cricket Council (ICC) match referee handed a ban after he was found guilty of racial abuse against all rounder Andrew Symonds during the Sydney test.

He was eventually let off with a fine for using abusive language following an appeal.

"The great coach indeed had some great comments to make, just like his great coaching methods," Harbhajan said in his blog bhajji.bigadda.com.

"I'm not surprised at this. In fact, anything coming out of Australia does not surprise me anymore.

"This is not the first time an Australian has showered his praise on me and am pretty certain he won't be the last one either."

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