this one out by Greg Chappell..................Full text of India cricket
team coach Greg Chappell's e-mail to Board of Control for Cricket in India
president Ranbir Singh Mahendra
Due to comments made by Mr Sourav Ganguly during
the press conference following his innings in the recently completed Test
match in Bulawayo and the subsequent media speculation I would like to
make my position clear on two points.
1. At no stage did I ask Mr Ganguly to step down
from the captaincy of the Indian team and;
2. At no stage have I threatened to resign my position as Indian team
Mr Ganguly came to me following the recently
completed tri-series of one-day matches here in Zimbabwe and asked me to
tell him honestly where he stood as a player in my view. I told him that I
thought he was struggling as a player and that it was affecting his
ability to lead the team effectively and that the pressure of captaincy
was affecting his ability to play to his potential. I also told him that
his state of mind was fragile and it showed in the way that he made
decisions on and off the field in relation to the team, especially team
selection. A number of times during the tri-series the tour selectors had
chosen a team and announced it to the group only for Sourav to change his
mind on the morning of the game and want to change the team.
On at least one occasion he did change the team and on the morning of the
final I had to talk him out of making another last-minute change that I
believe would have destroyed team morale and damaged the mental state of
the individuals concerned. I also told Sourav that his nervous state was
affecting the team in other ways as he was prone to panic during pressure
situations in games and that his nervous demeanour was putting undue
pressure on the rest of the team. His nervous pacing of the rooms during
our batting in the final plus his desire to change the batting order
during our innings in the final had also contributed to nervousness in the
players waiting to go in to bat. His reluctance to bat first in games I
suggested was also giving wrong signals to the team and the opposition and
his nervousness at the crease facing bowlers like Shane Bond from NZ was
also affecting morale in the dressing room.
On the basis of this and other observations and comments from players in
the squad about the unsettling effect Sourav was having on the group I
suggested to Sourav that he should consider stepping down from the
captaincy at the end of the tour in the interests of the team and in his
own best interests if he wanted to prolong his playing career. I told him
of my own experiences toward the end of my career and cited other players
such as Border, Taylor and Steve Waugh, all of whom struggled with batting
form toward the end of their tenure as Australian captain.
We discussed other issues in relation to captaincy and the time and effort
it took that was eating into his mental reserves and making it difficult
to prepare properly for batting in games. He commented that he had enjoyed
being free of those responsibilities in the time that he was in Sri Lanka
following his ban from international cricket and that he would consider my
I also raised the matter of selection for the first Test with Sourav and
asked him where he thought he should bat. He said 'number 5'. I told him
that he might like to consider opening in the Test as the middle order was
going to be a tight battle with Kaif and Yuvraj demanding selection.
Sourav asked me if I was serious. I said it was something to be
considered, but it had to be his decision.
The following day Sourav batted in the match against Zimbabwe 'A' team in
the game in Mutare. I am not sure of the exact timing of events because I
was in the nets with other players when Sourav went in to bat, but the new
ball had either just been taken or was imminent when I saw Sourav walking
from the field holding his right arm. I assumed he had been hit and made
my way to the players' area where Sourav was receiving treatment from the
team physiotherapist, John Gloster.
When I enquired as to what had happened Sourav said he had felt a click in
his elbow as he played a ball through the leg side and that he thought he
should have it investigated. Sourav had complained of pain to his elbow at
various stages of the one-day series, but he had resisted having any
comprehensive investigation done and, from my observation, had been
spasmodic in his treatment habits, often not using ice-packs for the arm
that had been prepared for him by John Gloster. I suggested, as had John
Gloster, that we get some further tests done immediately. Sourav rejected
these suggestions and said he would be 'fine'. When I queried what he
meant by 'fine' he said he would be fit for the Test match. I then queried
why then was it necessary to be off the field now. He said that he was
just taking 'precautions'.
Rather than make a scene with other players and officials in the vicinity
I decided to leave the matter and observe what Sourav would do from that
point on. After the loss of Kaif, Yuvraj and Karthik to the new ball,
Sourav returned to the crease with the ball now around 20 overs old. He
struggled for runs against a modest attack and eventually threw his wicket
away trying to hit one of the spinners over the leg side.
The next day I enquired with a number of the players as to what they had
thought of Sourav's retirement. The universal response was that it was
'just Sourav' as they recounted a list of times when Sourav had suffered
from mystery injuries that usually disappeared as quickly as they had
come. This disturbed me because it confirmed for me that he was in a
fragile state of mind and it was affecting the mental state of other
members of the squad.
When we arrived in Bulawayo I decided I needed to ask Sourav if he had
over-played the injury to avoid the danger period of the new ball as it
had appeared to me and others within the touring party that he had
protected himself at the expense of others. He denied the suggestion and
asked why he would do that against such a modest attack. I said that he
was the only one who could answer that question.
I was so concerned about the affect that Sourav's actions were having on
the team that I decided I could not wait until selection meeting that
evening to inform him that I had serious doubts about picking him for the
I explained that, in my view, I felt we had to pick Kaif and Yuvraj
following their good form in the one-day series and that Sehwag, Gambhir,
Laxman and Dravid had to play. He said that his record was better than
Kaif and Yuvraj and that they had not proved themselves in Test cricket. I
countered with the argument that they had to be given a chance to prove
themselves on a consistent basis or we would never know. I also said that
their form demanded that they be selected now.
Sourav asked me whether I thought he should be captain of the team. I said
that I had serious doubts that he was in the right frame of mind to do it.
He asked me if I thought he should step down. I said that it was not my
decision to make, that only he could make that decision, but if he did
make that decision he had to do it in the right manner or it would have
even more detrimental effects than if he didn't stand down. I said that
now was not the time to make the decision but that we should discuss it at
the selection meeting to be held later in the day.
Sourav then said that if I didn't want him to be captain that he would
inform Rahul Dravid that was going to stand down. I reiterated that it was
not my decision to make but he should give it due consideration under the
circumstances but not to do it hastily. At that point Sourav went to Rahul
and the two of them conferred briefly and then Sourav left the field and
entered the dressing room. At that stage I joined the start of the
A short time later Mr Chowdhary came on to the field and informed me that
Sourav had told him that I did not want him as captain and that Sourav
wanted to leave Zimbabwe immediately if he wasn't playing. I then joined
Mr Chowdhary and Rahul Dravid in the dressing room where we agreed that
this was not the outcome that any of us wanted and that the ramifications
would not be in the best interests of the team.
We then spent some time with Sourav and eventually convinced him that he
should stay on as captain for the two Tests and then consider his future.
In my view it was not an ideal solution but it was better than the
alternative of him leaving on a bad note. I believe he has earned the
right to leave in a fitting manner. We all agreed that this was a matter
that should stay between us and should not, under any circumstances, be
discussed with the media.
The matter remained quiet until the press conference after the game when a
journalist asked Sourav if he had been asked to step down before the Test.
Sourav replied that he had but he did not want to elaborate and make an
issue of it. I was then called to the press conference where I was asked
if I knew anything of Sourav being asked to step down before the game. I
replied that a number of issues had been raised regarding selection but as
they were selection matters I did not wish to make any further comment.
Apart from a brief interview on ESPN before which I emphasized that I did
not wish to discuss the issue because it was a selection matter I have
resisted all other media approaches on the matter.
Since then various reports have surfaced that I had threatened to resign.
I do not know where that rumour has come from because I have spoken to no
one in regard to this because I have no intention of resigning. I assume
that some sections of the media, being starved of information, have made
up their own stories.
At the completion of the Test match I was approached by VVS Laxman with a
complaint that Sourav had approached him on the eve of the Test saying
that I had told Sourav that I did not want Laxman in the team for Test
matches. I denied that I had made such a remark to Sourav, or anybody else
for that matter, as, on the contrary, I saw Laxman as an integral part of
the team. He asked how Sourav could have said what he did. I said that the
only way we could go to the bottom of the matter was to speak to Sourav
and have him repeat the allegation in front of me.
I arranged for a meeting with the two of them that afternoon. The meeting
took place just after 6pm in my room at the Rainbow Hotel in Bulawayo. I
told Sourav that Laxman had come to me complaining that Sourav had made
some comments to Laxman prior to the Test. I asked Sourav if he would care
to repeat the comment in my presence. Sourav then rambled on about how I
had told him that I did not see a place for Laxman in one-day cricket,
something that I had discussed with Sourav and the selection panel and
about which I had spoken to Laxman at the end of the Sri Lankan tour.
Sourav mentioned nothing about the alleged conversation regarding Laxman
and Test cricket even when I pushed him on it later in the discussion. As
we had to leave for a team function we ended the conversation without
Sourav adequately explaining his comments to Laxman.
Again, this is not an isolated incident because I have had other players
come to me regarding comments that Sourav had made to them that purports
to be comments from me to Sourav about the particular player. In each case
the comments that Sourav has passed on to the individual are figments of
Sourav's imagination. One can only assume that he does it to unnerve the
individual who, in each case, has been a middle order batsman.
Sourav has missed the point of my discussions with him on this matter. It
has less to do with his form than it does with his attitude toward the
team. Everything he does is designed to maximise his chance of success and
is usually detrimental to someone else's chances.
Despite meeting with him in Mumbai after his appointment as captain and
speaking with him about these matters and his reluctance to do the
preparation and training that is expected of everyone else in the squad he
continues to set a bad example.
Greg King's training reports continue to show Sourav as the person who
does the least fitness and training work based on the criterion that has
been developed by the support staff to monitor the work load of all the
We have also developed parameters of batting, bowling, fielding and
captaincy that we believe embodies the 'Commitment to Excellence' theme
that I espoused at my interview and Sourav falls well below the acceptable
level in all areas. I will be pleased to present this documentation when I
meet with the special committee in Mumbai later this month.
I can assure you sir that all my actions in this matter, and all others
since my appointment, have been with the aim of improving the team
performance toward developing a team that will represent India with
distinctions in Test match and one-day cricket.
As I said to you during our meeting in Colombo, I have serious
reservations about the attitude of some players and about Sourav and his
ability to take this team to a new high, and none of the things he has
done since his reappointment has caused me to change my view. In fact, it
has only served to confirm that it is time for him to move on and let
someone else build their team toward the 2007 World Cup.
This team has been made to be fearful and distrusting by the rumour
mongering and deceit that is Sourav's modus operandi of divide and rule.
Certain players have been treated with favour, all of them bowlers, while
others have been shunted up and down the order or left out of the team to
suit Sourav's whims.
John Wright obviously allowed this to go on to the detriment of the team.
I am not prepared to sit back and allow this to continue or we will get
the same results we have been seeing for some time now.
It is time that all players were treated with fairness and equity and that
good behaviours and attitudes are rewarded at the selection table rather
I can assure you of my very best intentions.
Greg Chappell MBE