Indian cricket had its first casualty between country and IPL, though apathy from the Indian cricket board is the main reason for this debacle. Andrew Leipus, a physiotherapist at the National Cricket Academy, has submitted his resignation letter to the BCCI bosses. However, the reason cited by Leipus, who works with Kolkata Knight Riders, isn’t the choice between the country or franchise, but the lack of clarity from the BCCI despite numerous emails seeking guidance from them.
Just like Rahul Dravid, who had sought clarity from the Supreme Court appointed Committee of Administrators (COA) about his future, Leipus too had first written to the BCCI general managers a month ago. Though Dravid’s issue was sorted out at high priority, Leipus didn’t get any reply from the board despite sending a few more reminders.
It is understood Leipus sent his resignation to BCCI chief executive officer Rahul Johri and BCCI cricket operation manager MV Sridhar, who are both in West Indies. Sridhar spent entire June in England for Champions Trophy and BCCI deputed him to supervise the team management for the West Indies tour. Leipus was unavailable for comment.
In his mails, Leipus had mentioned that he had issues ranging from a house lease about to expire to his children’s school fees. The Australian wanted clarity from the board about his tenure as NCA physiotherapist and his work with KKR and the relevant conflict of interest issues. He wanted to continue with NCA but didn’t want a situation where he was suddenly asked to choose between it or IPL, and lose both jobs in the process.
Leipus was the Indian team’s physio between 1999 and 2004, when John Wright was the head coach. He was one of the key reasons behind transformation of Indian players’ attitude towards fitness. In October 2015, he was appointed as chief physiotherapist at the NCA. His contract with the board was to expire in next two years but sources in the board informed that the Australian physio did not want a moment where he would be suddenly asked to choose between the two jobs as his family would suffer.
“He wanted a clarity but till date he did not got any from the board. He sent reminder emails too but no reply came. He clearly told board in his email that his house lease and children school fees. He wanted to continue but didn’t want to be terminated midway and forced to fly back home which will disturb his personal life. He took his final decision when no response came from the board,” a source confirmed to The Indian Express. Leipus’s connection with Indian cricket started when Javagal Srinath ran into him at a sports medicine clinic in South Africa where he was working in the first-class cricket.
Two years later when a position as physiotherapist opened up, Srinath, who had got his shoulder treated at that clinic, approached Leipus. In the past, he had talked about the lack of fitness culture in the team. “There was a certain apathy at the start. There was this attitude that I’m already at top level, why do I need to anything more?”
Slowly, he won their trust of the players, and helped along by the new young influx into the team, he began the change in fitness culture. That was then. Now the conflict of interest has made him its first casualty, though probably, in this case, the board is more to be blamed than the rules.