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Emotion clouded real story in my row with Ganguly: Greg Chappell

In a foreword to Sydney-based Indian historian Kersi Meher-Homji’s new book, Chappell wrote: “Much has been made of my differences with Sourav Ganguly in my time as coach of the Indian team; but not much of it reaches the core of the matter. Once again, emotion has clouded the real story, which was actually quite simple.

Sourav Ganguly and Greg Chappell
Former India coach Greg Chappell (right) with Sourav Ganguly. PIC/AFP

“Sourav was out of form and it was affecting the balance of the team. I tried to reason with Sourav that, if he wanted to save his career, he should consider standing down as captain to focus instead on resurrecting his batting skills. By choosing to ignore that advice, an already difficult situation was exacerbated and the Indian selectors chose to drop him.”

The book Cricket Conflicts and Controversies (New Holland Publishers) is expected to be released early next month. Chappell was still coach when the selectors recalled Ganguly during the South Africa tour of 2006-07. Ganguly retired in 2008 after the home series against Ricky Ponting’s Australians who had Chappell as a consultant during that contest.

Meher-Homji has written over a dozen books and he chose well when it came to the foreword writer considering Chappell was a controversial personality even before his 2005-2007 coaching stint in India.

Trevor’s underarm ball
In 1981, he ordered brother Trevor to bowl an underarm to prevent New Zealand tailender Brian McKechnie from hitting a six to win a triangular series game at the Melbourne Cricket Ground. Chappell brought it up in the foreword: “Though it was within the playing conditions, it contravened the spirit of the game. It is the one episode in my career that I regret.

“I know that I would do it differently the second time around, but I am not sure if Jardine (of Bodyline ‘fame’) would have changed a thing. He was prepared to live with his decision, almost as though he had no option, but I do feel for Larwood whose great  bowling feats are often overlooked in the drama surrounding Bodyline.” 

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