India~~s lawmakers flay outspoken guru Greg

Published: Monday, November 27, 2006, 23:53 [IST]
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New Delhi:India's beleaguered cricket coach Greg Chappell came under fire from the country's politicians for suggesting they were paid to talk and criticise.

Lawmakers, already incensed at the under-performing cricketers, were further infuriated when Chappell scoffed at their demands he be sacked from the 300,000-dollar-a-year job.

"They are entitled to make any comment they like. That's what they are paid to do in parliament," the former Australian captain was quoted as saying from Cape Town, where India lost the third one-dayer to South Africa by 106 runs on Sunday.

The defeat, following the 157-run loss in the second match in Durban after the first game in Johannesburg was washed out, was India's 10th in their last 12 completed one-dayers.

A senior federal minister suggested Chappell must face a privilege motion in parliament, where he could be reprimanded for his comments.

"If members of parliament are willing, a privilege motion can be moved against Chappell," Renuka Choudhary, the federal minister for women and child development, told a television channel.

Communist lawmaker Gurudas Dasgupta said the Australian great "had no business" to make such comments against members of parliament.

"Chappell does not understand the nuances of democracy," he said.

Lower house speaker Somnath Chatterjee added: "Let nobody lecture us on what the MPs' job is."

Chappell, 58, succeeded New Zealander John Wright as India coach in May 2005 for a two-year term that ends after the World Cup in the Caribbean in March-April.

Niranjan Shah, secretary of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), said last week no discussions had taken place on whether Chappell's contract would be renewed.

BCCI official Rajeev Shukla, a member of parliament himself, came to Chappell's rescue, saying politicians were going overboard about what was essentially a sporting defeat.

"Chappell should definitely have refrained from making an observation about MPs, because they are entitled to speak about the performance of the Indian team," the Press Trust of India quoted Shukla as saying.

"At the same I don't feel he meant to show any kind of disrespect towards MPs.

"I would request MPs also to maintain a little bit of restraint while making comments about players and coach.

"Those who follow cricket have every right to speak, but there are certain MPs who don't know the A-B-C-D of cricket and they are abusing the players and the coach.

"Tomorrow, if cricket players get up and start abusing MPs then what will happen?"

Chappell said in Cape Town Sunday the onus was on the players to lift their game for the rest of the South African tour, which includes two more one-dayers and three Test matches.

"I am not sure whether there is a solution other than working hard," he was quoted as saying in the Indian media.

"We have to try and turn things around. It has got to come from the players. They've got to dig deep and find a way to do it.

"Indian batting teams with better credentials have struggled under these conditions before. The ball bouncing between waist and chest is not something that happens regularly in India.

"It takes some adjusting and I don't think we are doing it well at the moment," said Chappell.


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