Ganguly v Chappell: The Fall Out
25 Sep 2005
By: Sudeep Popat
There was a time when Sourav Ganguly consulted Greg Chappell, back in August 2003, regarding his batting, the fruit of which was a gritty century by the Indian captain in the very first Test match of the country's tour of Australia later that year. Now though, the two are locked in one of the most controversial spats ever in Indian cricket.
Here's a chronicle of the entire crisis:
- Ganguly was an active campaigner for getting Chappell on board as coach, since the two had already been acquainted before.
- Chappell summoned Ganguly from Glamorgan, where the latter was playing county cricket, to take part in a preparatory camp for the Indian Oil Cup in Sri Lanka, which India lost in the final, and the assignments following.
- Ganguly could attend only two days of the camp, following which there was a mutual discussion between the two regarding his batting form, which failed to improve during his stint at the English country, as well as what effects could it have on the entire team.
- Earlier this month, in Zimbabwe, the matter sprung up again during team selection discussions, since Ganguly failed to show a positive sign during the Indian Oil Cup, or the warm-up match at Mutare before the first Test. Chappell suggested that the best XI should be on the field for the first Test, and when asked to emphasize on his point by Ganguly, he suggested that that could even mean that Ganguly should step down, so as to accommodate both Yuvraj Singh and Mohammad Kaif. An angry Ganguly stormed off mid-way through the discussion, and informed the team manager, Amitabh Chowdhary, about his decision to withdraw from the series with immediate effect. Rahul Dravid calmed him down, and explained him that such a decision would be disastrous.
- Ganguly scored a century, his first in as many as 20 months, in the first Test against Zimbabwe. In a media conference, he revealed that he was asked to step down, which instigated an extra determination in him. This was the first time the matter was revealed publicly; the occurrences aforementioned were only locker-room matter before.
- Reports that Chappell had threatened to quit surfaced, which were instantaneously denied by the Aussie. Ganguly meanwhile, slipped off to Victoria Falls with a few teammates, not accompanying Chappell to Harare, the venue for the second Test, with the rest.
- Chappell started the regrouping process by informing the media that his suggestions to Ganguly before the first Test were only supposed to be motivational and not a sign of any troubles between the two.
- Following what seemed to be a truce, Chappell wrote a lengthy e-mail to the chief of Indian cricket's board, Ranbir Singh Mahendra, in which he questioned Ganguly's ability, both physical and mental, to captain India. The entire e-mail, which has now been released to the media, can be read here
- On return from Zimbabwe, Ganguly denounced the e-mail, and said that he would consult the Indian board regarding the matter, refraining from making any further comments.
- Harbhajan Singh accused Chappell of instigating "fear and insecurity" within the team, thus becoming the first player to comment on the issue. Following this, the Indian board has pleaded players to keep mum, and decided to hold a review committee meeting on September 27, when the issue will be discussed at length, and some solution steps thought over.
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