Pawar bats for Greg, blames media for mess

Published: Monday, November 27, 2006, 23:53 [IST]
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New Delhi:Amid the growing clamour for his removal in the Parliament, Team India coach Greg Chappell finally found some support from BCCI President Sharad Pawar who exonerated the Australian from a controversial comment and instead, blamed the media for whipping up a frenzy.

After the drubbing in Durban where the Men in Blue were all out for 91 against South Africa, parliamentarians were baying for Chappell's blood and the stoic Austrailan stirred the hornet's nest when he reportedly said, ''I am not surprised by the outburst. They (MPs) are paid to do so.''

BCCI President Sharad Pawar, however, threw his weight behind beleaguered Chappell and accused the media of whipping up the frenzy by instigating MPs to speak out against the Australian.

Mr Pawar also denied that Chappell had made any remark about the MPs.

''I'm glad that the news channels are providing subject to the Parliament,'' he said sarcastically.

''The channels are instigating the MPs and many MPs told me so.

But the members are not going to act as per the advice of channelwallahs. These are not the issues which one can discuss in the Parliament,'' he asserted.

''You have a team which sometimes performs very well and some times not. This is a game and one should not give disproportionate importance to it,'' he added.

BJP MP and cricketer-turned-commentator Navjot Singh Sidhu also criticised the MPs who have voiced their anger against Chappell.

''Tell me does Rahul Dravid suggest who would be the Chief Minister in UP or does Chappell says who would be the UPA Chairperson? ''Why don't the MPs talk about other sports like kabaddi, hockey as swell? Cricket gives you easy publicity and so people are jumping on the bandwagon,'' he added.

And he came up with another trademark Sidhuism as well - ''The fact remains that you tend to pelt stones at fruit-bearing trees only and hence the team is being targeted.

''The situation is worse in hockey or athletics and you need reform more in those sports than cricket. We still talk about Milkha Singh who finished fourth (in Olympic),'' he explained.

''Visiting teams have lost 80 per cent matches in South Africa and we always tend to go overboard when it comes to cricket. Mark my words, the same crowd would worship the players when they come back and win a match or two at home,'' he opined.


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