The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Night falls, cricket curtain rises
- Chappell with Pawar past 11 pm, senior players also meet board chief
Greg Chappell, Sharad Pawar

Calcutta, March 4: Some seven hours after Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) secretary Niranjan Shah announced Greg Chappell’s controversial interview to a UK newspaper was a “closed chapter”, the coach was called for a meeting with the BCCI brass.

Details weren’t available till late at night, but it was just after 11 pm that Chappell headed towards his third-floor suite at The Pride Hotel (Nagpur) after interacting with president Sharad Pawar, vice-president Shashank Manohar and Shah.

Earlier, the trio met captain Rahul Dravid, vice-captain Virender Sehwag, senior-most pro Sachin Tendulkar and Anil Kumble.

The meetings took place less than 12 hours before the start of the final day of the opening Test versus England -- with the hosts poorly placed ' and two days after the BCCI ticked off Chappell for damning remarks directed at Sourav Ganguly in that interview.

Clearly, the timing couldn’t have been more bizarre.

The former captain isn’t speaking, but a confidant told The Telegraph: “The option of initiating legal proceedings against Chappell is very much on.

“Obviously, Sourav won’t rush into anything' I suppose he’s waiting for the BCCI president to reply to his complaint, which was sent four days ago.”

One isn’t sure what else Pawar said, but he assured Sourav (who had telephoned him) that he would personally talk to the coach.

Pawar, who is also a Union minister, was in Nagpur throughout the day but didn’t go anywhere near the VCA Stadium.

It’s only late in the evening that he swung into action.

While Chappell’s mouth can’t be taped, he can’t keep running down India’s most successful Test captain ' anybody for that matter ' in the manner he has.

As reported, what has infuriated Sourav (and even upset the BCCI) is the bit about money in the interview: “What I didn’t realise at the stage (September, in Zimbabwe) was how utterly important to his life and finances being captain was.”

If Sourav does decide on going to court, he will seek damages for that libellous contention.

Unless Pawar himself intervenes, it’s highly unlikely that Sourav is going to be recalled as long as Chappell is around. That’s till April 2007, by when he won’t be far from his 35th birthday.

So, in a way, Sourav doesn’t have anything more to lose if he initiates legal proceedings. But, then, the ball won’t roll (if at all) till Pawar gets back to him.

As of now, Sourav leaves for Jaipur tomorrow, ahead of East Zone’s next Deodhar engagement, versus Central. He scored 81 in the last match, against West Zone.

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