Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Chappell vs Ganguly : Is the saga over??? - Part 1 of a two part post

I would think not!!! Judging by the run of events today, definitely not! Chappell and Ganguly were called upon to present their respective cases in front of the BCCI's special committee. This committee consisted of noted names like Ravi Shastri, Sunny Gavaskar and BCCI (*so called*) administrators like S.K Nair and Ranbir Singh Mahendra, the president. Also present was past BCCI president Jagmohan Dalmiya, though I can't understand why he was called.

A quick flashback as nothing of great significance took place today. All the action took place over the last few days!

It all started with Saurav Ganguly telling the media after the first test match in Zimbabwe that he had been asked to step down by the coach. This was later denied by Greg Chappell in his by-now-famous E-mail to the BCCI president. More on that later.
This was the beginning of what would turn out to be one of the most hostile and much publicized confrontations in Indian Cricket's long history.

This done, soon after the Zimbabwe tour ended, Greg Chappell fired an email to the BCCI defending his position in the entire matter and also voicing his views on the current state of the Indian team and its captain. This was a 6 page email that was leaked to the media (sources unknown :-))

Greg Chappell begins by saying that he had never asked Sourav to step down but to rethink his position after the end of the series. Ganguly had asked him for his opinion on his current batting form to which Chappell replied, "I told him that I thought he was struggling as a player and that it was affecting his ability to lead the team effectively and that the pressure of captaincy was affecting his ability to play to his potential. I also told him that his state of mind was fragile and it showed in the way that he made decisions on and off the field in relation to the team, especially team selection."

He goes on to say that Ganguly used to make frequent changes to the team and that his frame of mind was not proper and this reflected on his decision making skills both on and off the pitch!

He also added and I quote :
"I also told Sourav that his nervous state was affecting the team in other ways as he was prone to panic during pressure situations in games and that his nervous demeanour was putting undue pressure on the rest of the team. His nervous pacing of the rooms during our batting in the final plus his desire to change the batting order during our innings in the final had also contributed to nervousness in the players waiting to go in to bat. His reluctance to bat first in games I suggested was also giving wrong signals to the team and the opposition and his nervousness at the crease facing bowlers like Shane Bond from NZ was also affecting morale in the dressing room".

Chappell further goes on to say that based on all these above mentioned observations and some other comments from fellow team members, he is of the opinion that Sourav should consider stepping down and allow some other member (Rahul) to lead the team and look ahead to the WC 2007!

Coming to the most shocking part according to me! The feigining of injury during the practice match against a weak Zimbabwe 'A' side!! According to Greg Chappell,
"The following day Sourav batted in the match against Zimbabwe 'A' team in the game in Mutare. I am not sure of the exact timing of events because I was in the nets with other players when Sourav went in to bat, but the new ball had either just been taken or was imminent when I saw Sourav walking from the field holding his right arm. I assumed he had been hit and made my way to the players' area where Sourav was receiving treatment from the team physiotherapist, John Gloster.

When I enquired as to what had happened Sourav said he had felt a click in his elbow as he played a ball through the leg side and that he thought he should have it investigated. Sourav had complained of pain to his elbow at various stages of the one-day series, but he had resisted having any comprehensive investigation done and, from my observation, had been spasmodic in his treatment habits, often not using ice-packs for the arm that had been prepared for him by John Gloster. I suggested, as had John Gloster, that we get some further tests done immediately. Sourav rejected these suggestions and said he would be 'fine'. When I queried what he meant by 'fine' he said he would be fit for the Test match. I then queried why then was it necessary to be off the field now. He said that he was just taking 'precautions'.

Rather than make a scene with other players and officials in the vicinity I decided to leave the matter and observe what Sourav would do from that point on. After the loss of Kaif, Yuvraj and Karthik to the new ball, Sourav returned to the crease with the ball now around 20 overs old. He struggled for runs against a modest attack and
eventually threw his wicket away trying to hit one of the spinners over the leg side.

The next day I enquired with a number of the players as to what they had thought of Sourav's retirement. The universal response was that it was 'just Sourav' as they recounted a list of times when Sourav had suffered from mystery injuries that usually disappeared as quickly as they had come. This disturbed me because it confirmed for me that he was in a fragile state of mind and it was affecting the mental state
of other members of the squad.

When we arrived in Bulawayo I decided I needed to ask Sourav if he had over-played the injury to avoid the danger period of the new ball as it had appeared to me and others within the touring party that he had protected himself at the expense of others. He denied the suggestion and asked why he would do that against such a modest attack. I said that he was the only one who could answer that question.

Rest in part 2


Hellbrandt Grimm said...

Step down, Mr.Ganguly with elan, as you have well earned such a .... well so much for an editorial a la N.Ram..
He's a perky 'un innee, that Chappell guy? How he had the nerve to write such an email in the first place fuddles me still. And of all people to the BCCI, and even better, in hope of CONFIDENCE! Ha! That's got to be the stupidest thing he has ever done in his life!
Clearly he was not quite happy that the mail leaked (by the way, that it is Dalmiya who leaked it to the press is an open secret).

But that's as far as Chappell's shortcomings [for lack of a better word :( ] go. He has done the very thing John Wright dreaded to do. Go straight for the big fish, meanest of them all. I have no doubts that he has stated the facts - facts and nothing else. Ganguly's over-inflated ego is probably only matched by his fear for the new ball in the hands of Brett Lee (and the likes..) That he is unfit to be in the team is so blatantly obvious. I didn't need the email to convince myself that he had to go. The limited (offlate very limited....) time for which I see him on the pitch is good enough for me to pass a judgement.
Even being fair to Ganguly, if atleast half of the email has an iota of truth in it, there is no way Ganguly can reclaim what he has lost, not from me!
The only sensible thing left to do, as I see it, is Ganguly should step down and save what little face he has left..

Stamping Authority said...

hey zydar, he doesnt have a face now da..
Its all disgrace...
He has come out with dressing room matters and next conference, he says dressing room matters should be kept within the dressing room...
Thats height of stupidity for u.......
Stupid of the zeroeth order.....

Camphor said...

Personally, I would that Ganguly stepped down - with elan, like zydar says.
Greg Chappell too -- Well, I would much rather that he had gone straight to the board - phone / in person / something that wouldn't be leaked so blatantly.
Waht did he want, a publicity stunt?

Abhi! said...


Chappell did what he had to do or what any coach would do. But then, he could have done it behind closed doors! If that was the case, then who would feed the indian media with a week's sports news in a cricket crazed nation during the off season

Abhi! said...

Stamping Authority:
Its time the rest of the indian public knew what was happening don't u think?? after all, its we who pay for watching them play!

Abhi! said...

We can only speculate as to why he sent an email which was bound to be leaked. You're right, he could have called them up or met them personally. Methinks that he wanted to make Sourav realise that being India's cricket captain was no easy game and tht he had to work really hard!

Hellbrandt Grimm said...

This was necessary. It was bound to happen. And honestly, who among you were actually surprised to read the contents of the mail? I, for one wasn't surprised at what I read. I had known it all along. For godness' sake, that he hasn't been practising is so blatantly obvious during his time spent at the crease.
Chappell's nerve (or cheek?) to actually put this down in black and white is the bone of contention here. In this he did what I feel was not a wrong thing to do. It may not have been the ideal solution, but it is most definitely not wrong of him to have done what he did. But this may be because the ideal solution must have been impossible to acheive (Yes, impossible is a term that exists into the world inhabited by the mighty BCCI)
As someone has said elsewhere in the blog, the politics involved in this is much too dirty for an ideal solution. Hell the BCCI elections are like nation-wide elections!
Being pragmatic, what will come out of this is, well..more chaos. It will feed itself. That politician-turned-BCCI election loser Whatsisname will be back with strongly voiced opinions on this and of course, fight for the seat all over again. And if he does win, what then? Well, nothing changes you know, just that the same cash flows into different pockets.
So where does it end? Right where it all began. See the circle? (No? O.O Better now?)
N'uff ranting. We pull ourselves down, really and we complain we are not reaching heights...