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Sight Screen

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Speaking through the gag

It had to happen, didn't it? Gag or no gag, a 'BCCI official' managed to get word to the media about Saurav Ganguly's response, in the review committee, to Greg Chappell.
Ganguly told the committee that Chappell tried to undermine his authority right through the Zimbabwe series and even went out to toss with the opposing captain without Ganguly's knowledge during a warm-up game while the team was practising in the nets.
In his note, Ganguly called it a "huge humiliation for any captain". But, he wrote, he let the incident pass as a joke because he did not want to make a scene and create an "unhealthy dressing-room environment".

Very weird, this -- no one other than the captain (or, if he can't take the field, the vice captain) can actually represent the team at the toss; any such toss is invalid. Curioser and curioser, this.
In his e-mail, Chappell had denied directly telling Ganguly that he should quit. But the skipper told the committee that Chappell had come to him on the eve of the first test and categorically asked him to step down as captain and "go back home to play domestic cricket".
He said Rahul Dravid explained to Chappell that his suggestion could have huge repercussions in India since Ganguly had been appointed captain for the whole tour by the selectors, and the coach was in no position to tell the captain to sit out. Chappell then "pleaded sorry that his timing was wrong".

And if this is what Chappell said -- the whole situation is now down to he-said he-said; this could have been solved so easily had the committee called in the vice captain, and others -- then this truce is frankly no truce; there is no way the two can work together. More to the point, makes you ask -- why then did the BCCI allow Greg Chappell to continue? If Ganguly's statements here are accurately reported, he appears on the right side of the controversy -- why then the 'compromise', especially one so shaky it's sure to collapse at the first stress?
Chappell had alleged in his mail that Ganguly was destroying the morale of the side by changing the team repeatedly on the morning of the match. But the skipper pointed out that they played the same 11 for almost the series, and only discussed some minor changes.
Accusing Chappell of misrepreseting facts to prove he had faked a tennis elbow in the warm-up game, Ganguly explained the exact nature of his injury and said he couldn't get scans done because there was no facility in Mutare or Bulawayo. Both physiotherapist John Gloster and manager Amitabh Choudhary supported Ganguly on this. Even Ranbir Mahendra, when he addressed the media, called Chappell's injury allegation "far from the truth". Ganguly also submitted trainer Greg King's fitness report, which shows he had actually completed more training sessions than he had been prescribed.
He vehemently fought the charge that he used a policy of "divide and rule". Ganguly stressed on how the Team India concept had emerged under his leadership and gave incidents of how he had backed players, even fought for them with the selectors on occasion. Secretary Karunakaran Nair, who sits in on selection meetings, backed Ganguly on this.

Wow! The rebuttal is comprehensive enough, wouldn't you say? And these two actually kissed and made up and promised to stay in bed with one another? Why? What is the deal here? If Greg Chappell was in the wrong, it is easy enough to understand why he would have welcomed a compromise, rather than an ignomious exit. But Saurav clearly believes Greg Chappell is a control freak, and not fitted to be coach -- what inducement, then, prompted him to accept this marriage of inconvenience?
And there is one final question that merits asking: Who among those present leaked this story? Ganguly has been repeatedly insisting he will tell what he has to, to the board, not the media. Now the review committee is over -- and judging by public reports, the six worthies who sat on it even returned all the paperwork to the Indian captain, claiming they did not want a leak from the BCCI. So -- who leaked? Mahindra, Nair or Dalmiya among the administrators? Gavaskar, Shastri or Venkatraghavan, among the ex-captains?
Will you ever know?
PS: My thanks to Rahul Nair for alerting me to this link.


  • Ganguly has enough reasons to get compromised purely because of his latest form. As Mahendra rightly said in the media conference that "some", note "some" points are far from truth. Meaning, there are some more points close to the truth. May be, chappell has used the close truths with far lies in his e-mail. Chappell has already sold his vision to BCCI. At least he has the vision, which BCCI and the former captains in the committe lack. That should be the enough reason to retain Chappell. Most importantly, Pathan, Yuvraj & Kaif are grateful to Chappell and have already made their gratitude public, after their performances. Any way the decision has been taken on the "best interests of Indian Cricket" and "the game should move forward". I think the game can't move forward any way by lacking the vision.

    By Blogger devatha, at 22:39  

  • holy dooley!
    I dont know how this came out, but more fat to the fire.
    Looks like one of them is indeed going to get roasted.

    By Blogger Dhruv Deepak, at 22:41  

  • Can things possibly get any worse? I cannot understand why the team has to continue to emabarass themselves and all their fans in front of the rest of the world. Can't these conversations take place behind closed doors? What a pity and what an embarrassment. Why, oh why, do I continue to torture myself by following Indian cricket hoping against all hope that one day things will change. I think I need to go watch some old DVDs of when we were actually playing well and cohesively to get me out of this state of depression.

    By Blogger Sahir, at 22:51  

  • wow.. interesting......
    this thing is more exciting than the stock mkt :)

    By Blogger Balaji, at 22:59  

  • Does Chappell have no self dignity? The board called him a liar, the man who leaked the email from Chappell to the board had the guts to tell Chappell to not send any emails, letters and any kind of communication which can be leaked. A person with little self dignity would have resigned and spitted on BCCI while leaving.

    BCCI calling the whole Chappell-Saurav issue a miscommunication indirectly said that Chappell is a liar. Dalmiya himself leaked the email and now he is telling Chappell not to any emails!!

    This has been an outright victory for Ganguly and the corrupt BCCI. Watch out for Ganguly blaming Chappell for India's forthcoming losses (they are going to come in a bunch) rather than addressing his fear and insecurity to face quality fast bowling. Chappell will sooner or later retire. Meanwhile India should concentrate on 2011 world cup as 2007 World cup is out of question right now.

    Until Ganguly stays in this team, India will go down the slippery slope.

    By Blogger Rahul Kulkarni, at 23:11  

  • As these things are the leaked version, we don't know how much truth is there in these. Now that Sourav has won the battle, he might want to cement his place, by spreading them and making public more sympathetic towards him, so that he can survive atleast till that famous goal WC2007. I suspect whether we will reach at least semi-final stage though.

    By Blogger devatha, at 23:35  

  • Dear Devatha

    From your use of teh term "As these things are the leaked version, we don't know how much truth is there in these"

    I trust you had personally received a copy of Greg's email - and verified that it had indeed come from him by checking the internet access / computer id in the detailed header - after all - anyone can send anyone else an email using any name in "Sender Name" isn't it.

    Since through the entire episode we have been reading only "leaked" mails and comments - one would expect some degree of objectivity in one's analysis - wouldn't one ?

    By Blogger GKD, at 23:45  

  • prem asks why does ganguly accept the compromise?simply because any contract as the one GC has will necessarily include a buy out clause that would even tax the coffers of cash-rich BCCI;this is apart from the public humiliation.prem elsewhere raises the point of a "morality clause", surely everyone knows the difficulties of proving a "moral" transgression.

    a question

    By Blogger oldmanblues, at 00:12  

  • A question:now that it is not Anandabazar Patrika or Lokendrapratap Sahi in the telegraph that is publishing the "leak" but Mumbai's very own Mumbai Mirror,surely it is someone close to the Mumbai lobby (yes, there is one,there has always been one)leaking it.Note that I simply follow the logic that led people (including Prem)to suspect Ganguly's culpability in the fiasco.Do we dare look at Ravi Shastri? He after all has had an axe to grind for close to a decade now?Or is it a mere symptom of a greater malady?The petty regionalism hitherto practiced by the West in particular and so effectively brought to a close by Ganguly is rearing its head again

    By Blogger oldmanblues, at 00:17  

  • The point below is quite believable (even if we discard the rest as case of I-said you-said) and we are blaming the players saying that they hate hard work

    • Players are scared to tell him their problems, because he uses that against them

    By Blogger Jai, at 00:31  

  • This one from Mid-Day is even better.


    Dada hits back
    By: Debasish Datta
    September 28, 2005

    Sourav Ganguly did not walk into the cricket board’s review committee meeting unarmed.

    The combative skipper carried — apart from a Bengali newspaper — a mysterious document for the members of the committee.

    The review committee comprises former captains Srinivas Venkatraghavan, Sunil Gavaskar and Ravi Shastri, and BCCI bigwigs Jagmohan Dalmiya, Ranbir Singh Mahendra and S K Nair.

    What it said

    Mid Day can now reveal that the letter was a point-by-point rebuttal of coach Greg Chappell’s controversial email to the board, which was leaked to the press last week. Here’s what the fiery letter said.

    • Chappell’s allegation: Ganguly is prone to panicking.
    • Ganguly’s response: We were 155 for one against New Zealand in the final. As left-arm spinner Daniel Vettori was bowling, I wanted a left-right combination. Sehwag was batting, so I told Greg that we should send Yuvraj Singh, who could score at a fast rate. This is called strategy, but Chappell labelled it panic.

    • Chappell’s allegation: Lack of support for VVS Laxman.
    • Ganguly’s response: The convenor of the selection committee, S K Nair (present at yesterday’s meeting) will confirm that I requested the selectors to include Laxman (in the Test and one-day squads), something Greg did not want. However, he said just the opposite in his email.

    Chappell’s allegation: Problems facing the new ball.
    Ganguly’s response: According to the coach, I don’t feel comfortable facing the new ball. But during my hundred in Bulawayo, I played four to five overs of the new ball at the start of my innings and again the next morning. It was also said that I don’t concentrate. But anybody will accept that I had to concentrate a lot in that particular innings. Yet, the coach did not say anything about this in his email.

    Chappell’s allegation: Not mentally and physically fit.
    Ganguly’s response: I want to be the captain of this side. I enjoy captaincy. It’s an honour to be captain. And I also know that unless we win, I will not be able to continue as captain. So why should I divide this team?

    Chappell’s allegation: Failure to follow fitness regimen.
    Ganguly’s response: You can check physiotherapist John Gloster’s report. I have done all the sessions. However, I do agree I should do more (on my fitness). But whatever has been said is incorrect. Can Chappell say that I failed to do sessions that were assigned to me?

    By Blogger Jai, at 01:02  

  • Prem:
    What is most disturbing about the current controversy is how much of it is based on hearsay. 'Leaks' are tools used by specific parties for their own agendas- can they be really trusted? In a situation where two people are saying different things, a logical response would be to ask an objective witness. I am glad the committee deigned to interview the manager and physiotherapist- unless of course, the 'support' they provided was written. A fitness certificate is one thing- it means that an injury was not apparent at that point. Further, if there were no facilities in the game at Mutare, why weren't tests done when the team moved to a biggger centre? Why isn't Sourav Ganguly seemingly the least bit interested in getting tests done even at this point- after all, the injury seems to be a recurrent one!
    On some levels, I'm happy that Dravid was kept out of this whole brouhaha, but if I was looking for an honest, objective opinion, his would be it. When the coach and captain contradict each other like this, the manager and vice-captain are the next persons who could throw light on the issue, at the very least about the 'step down now' controversy. I don't know if his story will even be sought by the next review committee, which by the Board president's remarks seems set to be an eye-wash all on its own. Then again, when was truth ever an issue here? There is some distance between the trappings and the actual spirit of professionalism. Isn't it distressing that Harbhajan Singh could be one of the ambassadors, and God help us, one of the future faces, of Indian cricket?

    By Blogger djlykan, at 01:07  

  • Hey Prem,
    Just wanted to clarify that I have seen instances where a team member other than the captain and vice captain have come out to toss. The first instance that I noticed this was in the India V Australia in the 1985 World Championship of cricket where Craig Mcdemott came out to toss with Sunny G. Not sure what the rule is for coaches coming in to toss though..

    By Blogger bubster, at 02:07  

  • I had previously mentioned in the blog here, such unrefined accusations on Ganguly Vs New ball or Ganguly and injury is not correct, and can't be proved. I can prove for Ganguly that he faced new ball when he was opening as recently in Srilanka. Somehow people just oppose him. But this ignores the real issues with Ganguly, which are pretty simillar to Chappel's observation, somebody posted yesterday how his nephew could saw some definiciencies In Ganguly's form and style.

    Ganguly's objection against chappel is also worth considering, if chappel sleeps, but expects the team to do otherwise, and considers it a serious issues, then opinion of another physical feetness trainer should be sought if it is consistent.

    Chappel should also talk about strategy.

    Though Ganguly looks good from the episode , he better understand his problems. The suggestions like sending Yuvraj was a suggestion only, for we have generally not seen such changes by Ganguly. Besides Ganguly himself is defensive.

    By Blogger biz0, at 03:40  

  • Hi Prem

    Good blog yours..Now that Jaggu and his fellow clowns have shown the correct way,Chappel has been taken out of any pressure now and all he will do is what Wright did in the last 3 years of his tenure.Chappel is no fool.If he resigns , except for few wisemen, all he will get is abuse from everyone including his countrymen.BCCI will pay him nothing.So he does the correct thing.He will play along this farce, collect his booty and any bonuses as and when india wins few matches and generally have a good time.If any questions are asked, he will point to his vision thing and its non acceptance.If he still gets sacked, he will happily collect his wages for the remaining period of contract and joyfully walk away from this miscerable country.
    Indian cricket? Why the hell should he worry?

    By Blogger laks1234, at 04:50  

  • Laks1234!!

    "You said walk away from this miscerable country"

    I understand you are deeply heart beacause of the outcome of this. But so are we!!
    May I request you to please dont drag our "whole country" into this!
    Just because we have few jokers sitting at BCCI doesn't mean that ours is a "miscerable country"

    I hope you understand.
    Thank you

    By Blogger Medium_Fast_LegSpin, at 05:47  

  • Jai, strategy has been a problem for some time now – reading the pitch, selecting the right target, choosing the best bowling combo, shuffling the batting. In the Ind- NZ final, India could have chosen two spinners (M Kartik for JP Yadav?). Did they set a low target on a flat pitch –but, if it was 300 (about right), then why was Rao sent in before Dhoni and why was Pathan held back till the very end??? Having discovered that spin was effective, spin could have been introduced earlier. In fact why was Rao selected as a super sub in the first place?

    Ganguly’s view on Yuvraj coming ahead of Dravid is shaky on the evidence. If the target was to score quickly, then why was Rao sent in before Dhoni and Pathan? Secondly, Yuvraj and Rao had struggled to even rotate the strike against spinners in earlier matches while Dravid is capable of much better. Lastly, the idea behind shuffling the batting ought to have been discussed prior to the match. If they had done so, a better plan would have been enacted. It probably cost India the final!!!

    By Blogger IssaicN, at 07:04  

  • Prem - If this rebuttal from Ganguly is true, then it really shows GC is very very poor light. Its one thing to be trying to impose himself on the team and all that, but to then go and write blatant lies? What was he thinking? That no one will cross examine what he wrote? I am curious what his wife think of him! I am surprised the guy is still married!

    By Blogger Tiger, at 08:50  

  • Unfortunately the media gag only applies to the players and the coach. The BCCI officials can get away with anything.

    By Blogger Jagadish, at 09:14  

  • Prem,

    I do respect your sources and contact and enjoy the inside stories you bring on this Blog.

    Based on the Mid Day info, now is the time for you to DIG a bit into Chappel and tell us the % of truth in GC and SG.

    Things like if Chappel went to toss and was a sleep in the dressing room are easy to verify (ie. for you). Also, check if Ganguly completed the specified program or not.

    Nagpur has ben talked a lot about. SG says he went to bat ahead of SRT at Melbourne to protect him. Does this make sense? Against NZ at one down, he was thinking of left ? right comb. Does this make sense?

    Granted there is no smoke without fire theory. If there is some validity to what SG is saying, you have a moral responsibility to rectify the previous postings as you have done substantillay more damage to SG than anyone else.


    By Blogger CrickTip, at 09:33  

  • more news filtering in
    seems GC was upset with yuvraj for the gesture he made after getting his century and even treathened yuvi on that account.

    another point in SG's rebuttal is that GC was found snoring in the dresing room on many occassions :)

    about the only valid point GC seems to have is the incident regarding VVS and for that SG had given a roundabout answer without ever talking whether the incident really occured.

    based on these it does not look like the aussie way that GC is taking, its the GC way

    By Blogger JD, at 09:35  

  • have to agree with you there cricktip. while the fact remains that SG has to be dropped on performance criteria, it does seem that GC deserves equal if not more stick.

    By Blogger JD, at 09:40  

  • "The petty regionalism hitherto practiced by the West in particular and so effectively brought to a close by Ganguly"

    This statement is as ironic as it is stupid. What else can you say about a statement that practices regionalism while deploring it?

    Reminds me of the time morchas were taken out in Kolkata when a terribly out-of-sorts Ganguly was dropped to make way for an in-form Kambli. It was very conveniently assumed that just because the captain was Sachin Tendulkar, the reasons must be bias, conveniently ignoring the fact that Kambli was easily the second-best batsman in the country at the time and had only been dropped after the 96 world cup for disciplinary reasons and not cricketing ones. He had served his time and was ready to return, regardless of who the captain was. The Ganguly lobby never allowed him to return in Tendulkar's captaincy (which coincided with Kambli's peak years) and pretty much destroyed his career.

    This regionalism business really is extremely annoying. I can see why the selectors would push players from their region (since they need to go back and get elected by those very same people), but why would a captain do that? His legacy and winning record depend upon how well his team does and no one is that stupid to mess with their team. All those who accuse the Bombay "lobby" forget that Bombay has won the Ranji trophy more than half the time and has been an unmatched colossus in domestic cricket (even beaten or dominated some international sides, some known as the best in the world). Is it surprising then that they have had quite a few players in the national teams? Isn't expecting otherwise a worse instance of regionalism? How is saying that players not be chosen from Bombay even when they are obviously better than the competition not regionalism? Bombay has won the Ranji trophy quite a few times in the past few years, even without the best batsman in the world. How come the only presence they have in the national team is the occasional appearance of Agarkar? Isn't that regionalism?

    By Blogger Sudo Nima, at 10:17  

  • I'm afraid that this issue is starting to obliterate everything else. While it was started to obviously cloud the elections issue and let Jaggu dada and his cronies continue their siege on the BCCI (why are any of the officials on the committee when their term has expired?), it is now starting to cloud things like how terrible Ganguly's form has been. This new controversy is giving him a new lease of life.

    Ganguly did score a century against Zimbabwe, but he has continued to look out of sorts, and the bowling can't get any worse than on a tour like this. When Tendulkar returns, someone will have to make way. Is it fair for, say, Raina or Rao to be dropped when they really haven't gotten enough of a tryout, rather than Ganguly who has been found out even by the most obscure of Zimbabwean bowlers?

    I t hink the only thing to be determined from this fiasco is whether Chappell should be sacked or not. I don't think there should be any question of whether Ganguly should be dropped. Pick your best XI or XIV and pick your captain from amongst them. Does anyone really believe that Ganguly deserves to be in the XI ahead of Yuvraj and Kaif?

    By Blogger Sudo Nima, at 10:24  

  • As for the administration, the ex-players seem ot be making a lot of observations and criticism, but no one is really doing anything. Can't they all get together and demand that Jaggu give up his 'jagir'?

    Everyone from Kapil Dev to Bishan Bedi has been saying that ex-players should run the BCCI and both have named Gavaskar (even though they had personal problems with him) as the obvious choice. Even in this review committee, I'm sure the decisions were taken by the BCCI trio and that SG, RS and SV were there just to give the committee some respectability and credibility. But then, if the greatest opening batsman of all time and a very highly respected player-turned-umpire don't have the guts to say anything against the BCCI, what hope does anyone else have?

    By Blogger Sudo Nima, at 10:29  

  • Alvin,

    Ganguly by Series:
    and Chappel statement that the scores are against weak opponents.

    Well, feel free to exclude BD and ZIM scores.

    Still the picture is not as bad as it is portrayed.
    In Aust - 284@ 47.33
    In Pak 77 @ 77
    Aust. 59 @ 19.66
    SA 97 @ 48.50
    BD 159 @ 79.56
    Pak 48 @ 9.60
    Zim 117 @ 58.50.

    and I am going to remove the scores against BD and ZIM.
    That leaves 565 runs against good opposition at average 33.23. Considering that BD and ZIM have been removed, runs in Aust should be upgraded / looked at favourably. Viv Richard average 45 in Australia and Lara less than 40.

    Contenders in Waiting:

    Kaif average 24.50 in 12 innings
    Yuv. average 34.90 in 10 innings.

    Hope this helps.

    By Blogger CrickTip, at 10:40  

  • Hi abhay.. Appreciate you pulling me up on my quote"miserable country"I am an indian, live in chennai and am not 100% proud of my countrymen.Sorry, we have been cheating ourselves with some cheap glory and petty successes.In the last 58 years of sporting, except for few small glimses of success in international arena, what we achieved is basically zilch.Even in the successes there is no consistency.Especially in cricket, our glory was in 1983(22 years back).Period.Whatever little successes we have had in 2001-2003 has turned into inconsistency.We are more interested in the issue of Saurav than the real issue of our approach to the sport.Some of you are gloating here about Saurav going in with 10 page crooked rebuttal but what the issues really are the lack of professionalism, hardwork,sincerity.Saurav managed to hoodwink and save his ass and his paypacket.But you guys will continue to wallow watching a mediocre performance.One victory here and there will keep you going and that is all what the idiotic indian supporters deserve.I am no angry fan.I am just saying what is evident in our day to day life.
    Australians are ruthless, no nonsense and above all don't idolise.Look at their sporting successes in the recent past with just 17million people.If we want to learn, first we must keep our mouth shut.But how can that happen?? We are the world's biggest ugliest and abusive yappers.

    As a cricket enthusiast, i thoroughly enjoyed watching the recent ashes series.I don't think i will miss anything if i don't watch a indian or a pakistani or westindian ( but for Lara)cricket because there is no sincereity.I have other great sports to watch like the Premier league football, champions league, the golf majors, the tennis sensation Roger Federer.We are so lucky to see so many outstanding sportsmen and women in various sports that i term it a unique period.The ugly indian selfish cricketers do not interest me.Sorry to have hurt anyone's enthusiasm in this forum.

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