The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Sourav gets a guide in Greg

Dambulla, Aug. 2: As with captains, a coach’s job isn’t limited to sharpening mental preparation and scripting strategy. Responding appropriately to delicate situations features in the unwritten brief.

Greg Chappell is new to coaching at the highest level, yet has quickly acted in a manner fit to make the dos of any man management manual.

He endorsed Rahul Dravid’s idea of inviting Sourav Ganguly to sit on the think tank ' traditionally reserved for the captain, vice-captain and the coach. Then, realising the former captain was fuming over the Asia XV, had a one-on-one this morning.

“The disappointment over his omission is out of Sourav’s system... I’ve spoken to him and, while I wouldn’t like to go into details, be assured he’s focused on his comeback,” Chappell told The Telegraph.

Even if the Majid Khans and Ravi Shastris don’t have time for Sourav, the Team India coach knows what he’s worth and the value he can add.

The disappointment may not entirely be out of Sourav’s system, but he was pretty relaxed through the day. In fact, he pre-empted an obvious query by insisting “I’m fine today... I really am...”.

That’s comforting, for Sourav can ill afford to continue dragging any disappointment-baggage in the hours leading up to his post-ban return. That, too, as a player and not captain.

For Sourav, tomorrow’s tri-series face-off with Sri Lanka is crucial. He needs a big score to bolster chances of getting back the captaincy. Also, to cock a snook at the quartet which picked the Asia XV.

Sourav, 55 short of 10,000 ODI runs, is set to open with Virender Sehwag.

“Touch wood, I batted well for Glamorgan and should carry on in the same vein,” he said, adding his mind “wasn’t cluttered” with thoughts that distract.

Sourav had another lengthy workout (separate nets for quicks and spinners), this morning, and while the real value of such exercises isn’t much, one senses the confidence. He doesn’t seem short.

Just in case Sourav is, Chappell’s boost would work wonders. “Whether he’s captain or not, we’ll be relying on Sourav’s leadership... He has the chance to only focus on his batting and get people to talk of him positively.... At times, an absolutely fresh mind isn’t such a bad thing,” Chappell declared. The coach knows best.

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