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Sudden contract termination leaves dismays PNG cricket coach


DIPAK Patel says his abrupt departure as Papua New Guinea cricket coach has left a "sour taste" in his mouth.

The former New Zealand international had been in charge for three years, leading the Barramundis to their first four-day and one-day international victories and 16th place in the World T20 rankings.

Patel's contract was due to expire at the end of next month but he said a new deal had been agreed before Cricket PNG informed him 10 days ago that his tenure was over.

"I didn't really have a lot of time - I suppose it didn't really sink in, didn't give me that opportunity to be honest with you - the fact that I was just given a week’s notice to terminate my contract," Patel said.

"Obviously they had another coach in mind, and probably the coach had already agreed to take over, but I would have probably liked a little bit more time to just say goodbye to the players.

"They've very special to me and they will always be very close to me. Certainly I've left with some very fond memories."

Patel said he recently had to return home to New Zealand for family reasons, but had left under the assumption that signing his contract extension was a formality.

"They had presented me an extension until the end of December, which I was very happy with," he said.

"And I actually agreed on it and the CEO and the chairman agreed on it too, which is where it starts to leave a very sour taste in my mouth."

"I haven't been given anything in writing in an official letter or anything. It was just a couple of phone-calls and a couple of emails, very vague," Patel said.

Patel said he was receiving messages from the Barramundis players, many of whom have taken to social media to express their support and show thanks to their outgoing coach.

"They're such hard-working people. I don't think I've ever coached [such dedicated players] at any level - international, first-class, school cricket - they're just hard working athletes - which is very unusual.

"They just love playing cricket and working hard to become better. That's what stands out to me the most and I felt that we were heading in the right direction in making them more professional.

"I don't want to finish on a negative - I've left PNG with some very fond memories and that's what stands out, not the negative side of it."

Cricket PNG CEO Greg Campbell declined to comment on Patel's departure but said the national body would explain their side of the story later this week.


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