Chappell is doing a fantastic job, says Pawar

Published: Tuesday, January 3, 2006, 23:53 [IST]
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Jaipur:BCCI President Sharad Pawar today credited coach Greg Chappell with shaping up the Indian team and improving the general quality of cricket in the country.

"I have talked to the players and others as well and all of them have confided that Chappell is doing a fine job. It is he who has helped in improving general quality of Indian cricket," Pawar told reporters here.

The Union Agriculture Minister, who is here on an invitation from the state unit of his political party NCP, also sought to bury the controversy over the selection of Sourav Ganguly for the Pakistan tour.

"There was no pressure on selectors to pick him in the team. Earlier we used to send a 15-member team but now it is a 16-member team, the selectors felt that Ganguly merited selection."

Asked if there was pressure on the selectors to pick him in the squad after it was reported that the matter would be discussed in Parliament, a palpably irritated Pawar said Parliament had no business to discuss selection issues.

"Tell me, who was going to answer the debate in Parliament? Sports Minister ? He does not know what are the selection matters. I feel such issues should be kept away from Parliament.

"Ganguly is a great player and he has contributed immensely to Indian cricket. He is going through a lean phase. Even Sachin Tendulkar was going through a similar lean phase until he hit that record 35th Test hundred.

"Ups and downs are part of the game. The team management will decide how to use Ganguly in the forthcoming series," said Pawar adding sarcastically that everybody in India was a selector and every channel was busy advocating players associated with them.

Asked if BCCI would announce special incentives for the Indian team to win in Pakistan, Pawar said, "I do not believe in such incentives in sports. It is their duty to win. Such culture should be discouraged in sports." Pawar also said he felt there were a lot of discrepancies in the ICC calendar.

"Yes, there are some differences regarding the ICC calendar. It is strange that the best cricketing nation in the world, Australia, is scheduled to visit India in 2011 while Indians go there twice in between. What sort of justice is this? There should be more reason in deciding the calendar.

"We want to play more frequently against stronger teams."

On the increasing bitterness with every passing year over BCCI elections, he said, "there was some bitterness during elections but it was because the President had more than one vote in his pocket. That was unfair. We also wanted the voters list to be displayed well before elections.

"The Supreme Court conducted the elections in a fine manner and some of these steps will be taken into account when we move further to improve election procedure and amend the constitution. But as of now there is no bitterness.

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