Buchanan vows to make Knight Riders the best franchise

May 24th, 2008 - 8:57 pm ICT by admin  

A file-photo of Shoaib Akhtar

New Delhi, May 24 (IANS) It may be all over for Kolkata Knight Riders in the inaugural season of the Indian Premier League (IPL), but their Australian coach John Buchanan has vowed to make them the “best team” in the coming seasons. At the launch of his book “If Better is Possible”, Buchanan made it clear that every team should have its history and Knight Riders will create its own and also set benchmarks.

“I want to develop the team as the best franchise team. We are also looking for the right people and talent. There is the Bollywood aura but then we don’t have history. We are the ones to initiate and set benchmarks,” he said.

The Knight Riders made a brilliant start in the IPL but lost way after the departure of key players Brendan McCullum and Ricky Ponting. Buchanan, however, feels that it was Knight Riders’ failure to perform well in the first six overs that was the main cause of their downfall.

Asked, how is he going to motivate his team following their string of defeats, Buchanan said: “Motivation should come from within. As a coach I work on providing them with an environment to help them achieve their desires, the desire to try and improve. If I can change it fine, or else it would be time to go.”

There are hardly any critics who can point a finger at Buchanan’s chequered career with the world champion Australian team. But he is a self critic.

“If am not able to talk and get it (performance) from my players, which I indeed could not do at the IPL, I should be under review.”

Buchanan also said that he has no energy left to take up coaching a national side any more. “I don’t have energy level to match it and I won’t have much impact on the team,” he said.

Reacting to Shane Warne’s comment that national sides don’t need a coach, Buchanan said: “Yes, of course, it is needed. It is a huge task even if some people boast and have you believe the otherwise. Preparations are individualised. Take Matthew Hayden. If he had his way he would just turn up on the day of the match, ready to play. Ready tactically, mentally, technically. You would find him spot on. But then there are other players as well who are different. A coach is the buffer to support and protect the players.”

Asked what was the biggest challenge he faced during his tenure with the Australian team, Buchanan said: “The problem for most successful teams face is that they tend to undermine their opponents. The same happened with us during the 2005 Ashes. So my challenge was to see that our strengths were not our weaknesses.”

On his current challenge of working with Knight Riders’ captain Sourav Ganguly, the Australian said: “To be 100 percent honest, we should not talk a lot of things. He (Sourav) is an achiever, he has done incredible things. He is going to adjust to any form of the game. An icon of Bengal. We worked together very well in such a short time. We have to work the best for the team. Exciting times for Knight Riders, Indian cricket and world cricket.”

On Pakistani fast bowler Shoaib Akhtar, he said: “There is a lot of reputation and a lot of history which goes with him. He is lazy sometimes like not being punctual but he is benefitial for the team.”

Buchanan concluded by saying that Twenty20 is the future of cricket and IPL proved it.

“It is in front of us. People who watch have an opinion and there is a huge interest. I think the administrators are the key people. They have to balance the two forms of the game. Twenty20 is something that can be watched in New York too. It is certainly beneficial for cricket,” he said.

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