Indian team sans coach Chappell to arrive morrow

Published: Friday, September 23, 2005, 23:53 [IST]
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Mumbai:The Indian cricket team, sans coach Greg Chappell and his support staff, is scheduled to arrive here early tomorrow morning from Zimbabwe, Indian Cricket Board sources said. "The 14-players, including skipper Sourav Ganguly but excluding Ajit Agarkar, who arrived yesterday, are to reach Mumbai around 2 a m," the sources told PTI.

"Chappell, physio John Gloster, trainer Gregory King and biomechanics expert Ian Frazer would return to Mumbai as per the original plans, on September 25 night," they added. The news of the expected arrival of Ganguly and his players, who defeated bottom-rung Zimbabwe 2-0 in the Test series after losing in the limited over tri-series final against New Zealand earlier, comes amidst disturbing reports in the Indian media about the widening of the rift between Ganguly and Chappell.

Reports in a leading Bengali daily in Kolkata said today that Chappell has sent a six-page e-mail to BCCI Chief Ranbir Singh Mahendra, who is himself fighting a bitter battle in Kolkata to retain his position at the Board's AGM, in which he has severely criticised Ganguly's fitness to lead the Indian team and his attitude towards the team members, among other things.

Ganguly and Chappell made headlines during the Bulawayo Test for a dressing room spat triggered by the latter's suggestion that the former should to sit out of the first Test playing eleven to accommodate young players Mohd Kaif and Yuvraj Singh together.

Ganguly and Chappell made a public demonstration of burying the hatchet when the coach issued a statement prior to the second Test at Harare praising Ganguly's leadership qualities and their mutual admiration for each other. But the latest reported development, vis-a-vis the e-mail sent by Chappell to Mahendra seems to have queered the Indian cricket pitch further.

These developments, in addition to the happenings at Kolkata where the cricket administrators are involved in a bitter duel to wrest control of the richest sports body of the country, come ahead of a busy international programme for the national squad commencing on October 25 at Nagpur.

The Indian team is set to play two limited over international series comprising 12 matches in all at home, against Sri Lanka and South Africa - between October 25 and November 28, followed by a three-Test series at home against the former.

Then follow the tough away series against Pakistan and the home series of three Tests and seven ODIs against England - between January and April, 2006 - before the squad embarks on a tour of the West Indies in May for a series of four Tests and five ODIs.

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