M A I N   N E W S

Ganguly, Chappell bury the hatchet

Mumbai, September 27
The crisis stalking Indian cricket in the wake of serious differences between captain Sourav Ganguly and coach Greg Chappell appeared to have blown over for the moment, with the BCCI today working out a compromise between the two, but with a rider that everyone has to perform.

In the aftermath of the controversy stirred by Chappell’s leaked e-mail that had questioned the captain’s ability to lead the team, a six-member Review Committee of the cricket board also decided to put a clamp on the coach and the players, including the captain, speaking to the media and writing their personal views.

“The committee was of the view that cricket has to move forward. Both the coach and the captain will have to work out mutually and their professional working relationship are to be maintained.”

“For this purpose, performance will be the criterion. This applies to the coach, captain as well as to the players,” board President Ranbir Singh Mahendra told reporters after a four-and-half-hour meeting of the committee, before which Chappell, Ganguly and manager of the Zimbabwe tour Amitabh Choudhary appeared separately. The committee also arranged for a discussion between Chappell and Ganguly later.

Both of them have assured the committee that they would work together in the interest of the game, Mahendra said.

The board chief said, “All these decisions have been taken by the committee keeping the interest of Indian cricket in mind”.

Replying to questions, he said the gag on the players or coach talking to the media did not apply to pre-match and post-match media conferences and also during the matches by the coach and captain.

He also clarified that the serious charge levelled by Chappell against Ganguly that he used to feign injuries during the Zimbabwe tour came about because of “miscommunication between them”.

“There were no proper MRI scan facilities at Bulawayo (venue of the first Test) where Ganguly complained of elbow pain during the pre-Test warm-up game”, explained Mahendra about this particular aspect of the sensational e-mail sent by Chappell to him, which was subsequently leaked to the media.

“I want to clarify one thing. That some of the points (raised by Chappell) with regard to injuries, that the captain was faking injuries etc are the result of miscommunication between the parties concerned,” said Mahendra.

“They (Ganguly and Chappell) reassembled (after having been heard individually by the committee for an hour each) in the concluding part of the hearing and assured us that they would work together in the interest of Indian cricket,” the board chief said. “The matter (spat between Ganguly and Chappell) has been sorted out”, Mahendra said. To another question whether their respective roles had been clearly demarcated, he replied in the affirmative.

“The captain has to control the game and the coach has to do his own job. Both are happy with the arrangement and they shook hands after the meeting. We are also very satisfied with the coach and the captain’s conduct during the Zimbabwe tour,” the board chief said.

The committee comprised Mahendra, board Secretary S.K. Nair, former board chief Jagmohan Dalmiya, and three former captains — Sunil Gavaskar, Ravi Shastri and Srinivas Venkatraghavan.

All these decisions would go before the BCCI’s Working Committee to be ratified, Mahendra explained, but expressed confidence that there would be no problem in their implementation.

Explaining the ban on airing of the views by players, coach and captain to the media, which the committee probably felt was the root cause of the spat between Ganguly and Chappell, Mahendra said it also applied to the captain for forthcoming international engagements. “At present, Ganguly is the captain till a new captain is appointed (for the next home ODI series against Sri Lanka) and it will apply to whoever it is (and subsequently),” he said.

Mahendra also said the leaking of Chappell’s explosive e-mail to the media would be investigated by the board, but said no committee would be appointed to find out the source of the leak.

“We have got our own ways to find out,” he said and also remarked in a lighter vein, when queried, that Chappell was unlikely to send any more e-mails to him. — PTI


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