Sourav Ganguly slams Greg Chappell in book: He wanted to make his own team
Sourav Ganguly makes fresh allegations against former India coach Chappell
Sourav Ganguly (left) and Greg Chappell at Chennai in 2005. PIC/AFP
Their public spat is now more than a decade old but for former India captain Sourav Ganguly, the bitter fallout with former coach Greg Chappell is something that he still finds difficult to forget. Looking back at his selection fiasco in the Greg Chappell era, Ganguly has come out openly in a book — Eleven Gods And A Billion Indians, the on and off the field story of cricket in India and beyond — authored by cricket historian Boria Majumdar. The book will be launched during the Indian Premier League.
"Greg came to me one evening and showed me a team he had picked for the Test match. Some key players were not in his playing XI and I was a little taken aback at what he was trying to do," Ganguly said recollecting about the turn of events in the build-up to first Test against Zimbabwe in Bulawayo in September 2005. At a time when Chappell assumed charge as head coach in July 2005, Ganguly was serving a six-match ban imposed on him in March 2005 for slow over-rate as Rahul Dravid was interim captain and it was for the Zimbabwe tour in September 2005 that Ganguly was once again given back the reins. "I think some people who Greg had become close to may have told him that with me around, he would never have his way in Indian cricket.
"Whatever it may have been, he was not the same Chappell in Zimbabwe compared to the one who had helped me get ready for the Australian tour in December 2003," Ganguly went on about the tumultuous relationship.
Greg's suggestions rejected
Ganguly admitted that he rejected suggestions given by Chappell. "I rejected his suggestions and said to him clearly that the people he wanted out had done great things for Indian cricket while he had just been there for three months. He needed to spend more time to fully understand the situation before he start taking tough calls. He, it was clear to me, was in a hurry to make the team 'Greg Chappell's team'." Their differences, Ganguly reveled, started with a warm-up match in Zimbabwe against the Zimbabwe 'A' when the skipper was hurting from a tennis elbow as he "retired hurt" to nurse the injury as it was an inconsequential match.
"Greg wasn't around in the dressing room when I had retired hurt and it was only after a while that he came back to ask what had happened to me. I said I had a painful elbow and with a Test match coming up did not want to risk playing on. To my surprise, he insisted I go out and bat and I was forced to tell him I wouldn't because I was in good touch and did not want to jeopardise my chances of playing the Test match. I even said that the pain notwithstanding, I was sure to turn up for the Test."
The chapter also mentions about the email leak in which Chappell talked at length about the match and how Ganguly was "spasmodic in his treatment habits".
Ganguly went on to score 101 in the first Test batting for nearly six hours. Ganguly also said about his ouster from the ODI series against Sri Lanka. "I called Greg to ask why I had not been picked and was told I had to first prove my fitness and only then could I make a comeback to the team. He said I had missed the Challenger Series and he was not clear if I was fully fit.
'He tried to end my career'
"It was surprising because the Challenger had never been looked upon as a selection trial. "I had scored more ODI runs than anyone else in the team in the last few years. That was the first time I felt Greg was trying to end my career."
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