BCCI review committee meeting begins in Mumbai

Published: Tuesday, September 27, 2005, 23:53 [IST]
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Mumbai:After an acrimonious bout of charges and counter-charges between captain Sourav Ganguly and coach Greg Chappell, the Cricket Board's Review Committee, chaired by BCCI President Ranbir Singh Mahendra, began its deliberations here this afternoon.

Apart from the captain, coach and Board chief, the meeting at a south Mumbai's five-star hotel, is being attended by Convener and BCCI Secretary S K Nair, former BCCI chief and the board's heavyweight functionary Jagmohan Dalmiya and three former national captains, Sunil Gavaskar, Ravi Shastri and Srinivas Venkataraghavan.

The committee, formed originally to choose a new coach for the Indian squad following the departure of John Wright after a near-five-year stint, was empowered by the Board's working committee to do follow-ups after every few ODIs and Test series featuring India, with the coach in attendance.

However, the rapid and explosive developments over the last fortnight or so, specifically since Ganguly revealed without naming Chappell that he had been asked to step down from captaincy before the start of the two-Test series in Zimbabwe, have made this meeting high-profile.

The committee is initially expected to lay the ground rules for the meeting, specifically the modus operandi for the proceedings, before getting into the details. It is expected to ask Chappell to brief it about the happenings on the tours of Sri Lanka and Zimbabwe, discuss the performances of the team members and his much-publicised spat with Ganguly.

Ganguly is expected then to present his side of the case, in specific answers to the charges made by the coach in the leaked e-mail in which the former Aussie captain had charged him with not being fit to lead the team and affecting the morale of the players.

Board secretary Nair told PTI yesterday that both are expected to be called separately by the committee so that it could get to the bottom of the controversy which has rocked Indian cricket like no other happening in recent past, barring the match-fixing scandal five years ago.

"They may be later called for a joint sitting too. Everything would be decided by the chairman (Mahendra) before we call them to meet us," Nair said.

Team manager Amitabh Chaudhary, who has already aired his views in the media on some specifics of the charges levelled against Ganguly - specifically his lack of fitness - would also be called for an explanation, Nair said.

Team physio John Gloster, who is staying in the same hotel after returning from Zimbabwe, may also be called to tell the committee members about the fitness level of various players, including Ganguly, according to BCCI sources.

Also to be discussed would be the workings of the support staff for the team, specifically physio Gloster, trainer Gregory King and biomechanics expert Ian Frazer and whether there was any need to add to this paraphernalia in future series involving the Indian team.

The bottom line is that the committee is not vested with any powers to take a decision. All it can do is suggest a course of action to the all-powerful working committee.

But with the Board itself in a limbo, following the adjourned AGM in Kolkata, it is debatable what course of action the committee would recommend to the Board.

The most likely suggestion from the committee would be for the two warring parties, both heavyweights in team matters, to bury their hatchet, at least for the time being, keeping in view the heavy schedule of international engagements for India commencing with the seven-match series against Sri Lanka at home later this month.

Whether this can be worked out to everybody's satisfaction is anybody's guess.

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