Former India team manager speaks on how Sourav Ganguly reacted to Chappell's infamous chat
Exactly 10 years after the most infamous captain-coach feud in Indian cricket broke out between Sourav Ganguly and Greg Chappell in Zimbabwe in 2005, India’s team manager from the fateful tour, BCCI joint secretary Amitabh Choudhary, has come out with some revealing details about events in the troubled India dressing room.
What Chappell told Ganguly at a training session in Zimbabwe is history – it incited street protests, speeches in Parliament, a match in Eden Gardens where the crowd booed the Indian team, among other things in a troubled 2-year period which culminated in disgrace at the 2007 World Cup.
Chappell had asked Ganguly to step down from captaincy to focus on his batting, and that he would like to pick the best XI for the 1st Test – picking both Yuvraj Singh and Mohammad Kaif ahead of the captain.
‘That guy’s crazy’: Ganguly on Chappell
Choudhary related to a forum at Xavier Institute of Social Service.how Ganguly had reacted to the ‘exchange’, and how his vice-captain Rahul Dravid had stood up for him to the coach.
“It happened at a training session two days before the first Test (in Bulawayo). The skipper left training midway and returned to the empty dressing room. He came back and threw himself on to a chair, visibly disgusted. I asked him what happened. Pointing at Chappell, who was on the ground overseeing the net session, Ganguly said, 'That guy's crazy.'
"I instantly understood what had just happened was explosive.
"So after pacifying Ganguly, I had a chat with his deputy Rahul Dravid. Then we walked up to the coach to tell him that dropping the skipper was beyond his jurisdiction."
It is not known what Chappell told Dravid and the team manager when they confronted him, but Ganguly was in fact dropped from the team after that series and vice-captain Dravid handed a promotion.
Chappell’s leaked e-mail
Chappell had later said that the ‘chat’ he had given Ganguly was to motivate him before the Bulawayo Test. He had sent an e-mail to the BCCI in the middle of the tour telling them that he thought Ganguly was ‘mentally and physically unfit’ to be India captain.
Harbhajan Singh’s take on the e-mail incident summed up the sentiment of most people on that occasion – “Sourav was batting out there in the middle and this man was typing a critical e-mail against Sourav, sitting right there in that dressing room. He had no interest in the proceedings of the match.
“How did I get to know, I was sitting next to him and had a suspicion. Once he went to the washroom, I peeped into his laptop and the mail was lying open.”