Ganguly owns his respect for Chappell in meeting

Published: Wednesday, September 28, 2005, 23:53 [IST]
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New Delhi:Indian captain Sourav Ganguly,in front of the Review Committee of the Cricket Board,professed his respect for coach Greg Chappell and pledged to play under him, it was learnt today.

The compromise between the two hammered out yesterday by the BCCI Committee continued to be interpreted in various ways, most seeing it as a draw, some as a victory for the captain and a few give the round to Chappell.

With the Board's gag order in place, none of the cast involved in the high drama was willing to talk on record, Ganguly himself telling reporters in Kolkata that he waslooking to "some rest".

However, a member of the Review Committee said " Indian cricket has reasons to be pleased with the outcome. Unfortunately, media has missed the bigger picture and worked itself into a frenzy over Sourav vs Greg theme".

The committee has neither worked a compromise nor made Chappell's position untenable, the member has claimed.

"It's rubbish to believe that Chappell is quitting. It is also absolutely wide off the mark to believe that Ganguly has gained ground and Chappell has been slighted," said the member. The member asserted that if the committee had made public its disposition either in favour of Ganguly or Chappell, "the next few weeks would have whipped up extreme public reactions in favour or against the two gentlemen and it would have meant disastrous preparation ahead of the visit by the Sri Lankan team."

"As things stand today, the ball is in Ganguly's court. He would be under pressure to perform in the next two series. If he does well, Indian cricket will move forward. If hefails, even then a new chapter in Indian cricket will take place," said the source.

The source admitted it's now a "fight-to-finish" battle ahead for the tenacious Indian captain.

Ganguly is conscious that the accusations by Chappell are still in public domain. Every action of his now will be minutely observed. The next few series are in India whichwould imply he can't escape the glaring spotlight, observed the source.

It is learnt that the only time Chappell was caught off-guard in the meeting yesterday was when Ganguly flushed out two e-mails which the Australian had written to journalists and in which he had portrayed a poor picture of the Indian captain.

Ganguly apparently wondered if it did not imply indiscipline or impropriety on the part of the coach to have shown his own captain in such a poor a light.

A few other significant issues discussed in the meeting was the possibility if Indian team should have separate Test and one-day captains. An eye was also cast at the five-memberselection committee as it exists today.

"However, these are peripheral issues at best. Much of it will also depend on which way the Board's elections shape up," claimed the source.

Meanwhile, Chappell has received an important "thumbs up" for his man-management skills from a member who toured with the Indian team in Sri Lanka in July-August.

"It is distressing to see that Chappell is being portrayed as some kind of control-freak in relations to team members. From my Sri Lanka experience, I can safely say that he was most open and honest with team members and encouraged everyone to speak up their minds," said a member of the team management on the Sri Lankan tour.

"He has been encouraging everyone to develop their own rationale. It's just not six-hat theory and all. I find it amazing when I read that he is stifling to others because myobservation was exactly the opposite."

Ganguly has made known his intention to play in the Challenger Series, due in Mohali between October 10-14. Interestingly, Chappell has also expressed his desire to watchthe proceedings from the sidelines.

There is also Irani Trophy scheduled in New Delhi from October 1-5 but neither Ganguly nor Chappell are likely to be seen in it.

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