Truce works as BCCI puts lid on coach-capt spat

Published: Tuesday, September 27, 2005, 23:53 [IST]
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Mumbai:Seeking to put a lid over the warfare between captain Sourav Ganguly and coach GregChappell, the BCCI today got them to agree that they would work together, an uneasy compromise that is unlikely to bring peace to the Indian dressing room.

The crisis gripping Indian cricket since Ganguly and Chappell attacked each other was the focus of a five-hour meeting here of the six-member Review Committee of the Cricket Board that includes the Board president R S Mahendra, his predecessor Jagmohan Dalmiya, batting legend Sunil Gavaskar, and former captains Ravi Shastri and S Venkataraghavan.

Chappell and Ganguly presented their cases to the committee.

The warring captain and the coach assured the committee that they will work together in the interest of the game, Mahendra claimed later during a press conference at which healso announced a gag order on Ganguly, Chappell and other players barring them from speaking to the media or writing.

Ganguly, whose ouster has been demanded by the coach, will stay as captain and Chappell, who is only three months into the job, retains his position. On their respective roles, Mahendra said the captain has to "control the game" and coach has to do his job.

In the light of the fact that Chappell had accused Ganguly of being mentally and physically unfit to lead the team, of faking injuries and of being a divisive factor, the truce is likely to be uneasy. The effectiveness of the tough Australian as the coach and how long he is able to compromise will remain debatable.

Mahendra 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".

"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 miscommunicationbetween the parties concerned. Whatever is stated is far from the truth", said Mahendra.

"There were no proper MRI scan facilites 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.

The Board chief said "all these decisions have been taken by the Committee keeping the interest of Indian cricket in mind".

"They (Ganguly and Chappell) reassembled in the concluding part of the hearing and assured us that they would work together in the interest of Indian cricket," hesaid.

"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," Mahendra said.

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

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