The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
Email This Page
Battle to wear Big Boss cap

Calcutta, Sept. 24: Greg Chappell, it seems, wants absolute powers. Perhaps, like an Alex Ferguson.

According to The Telegraph’s sources, the much talked about coach’s e-mail to the Board of Control for Cricket in India didn’t just condemn Sourav Ganguly, it emphasised his intention of working very differently from predecessor John Wright.

It’s not clear whether Chappell actually said Wright had been soft, but placing on record that he’s going to be different is a statement in itself.

Apparently, Chappell informed his employers that Sourav won’t have complete say over the XI and it won’t be his prerogative to decide the batting order ' as was done in the five years of the Wright era.

The ‘I-won’t-be-like-Wright’ stand confirms what most have feared: It’s a fight, essentially, to occupy the one Big Boss chair in the Team India dressing room.

However, despite being severely indicted, Sourav isn’t searching for a place to hide.

Rather, the captain is waiting to place his views before the board and his body language during an interaction (at his residence) this morning suggested he won’t pull punches.

With his reputation in tatters, thanks to the e-mail, Sourav doesn’t have much else to lose. Moreover, after five-and-a-half years as captain, he can’t be that desperate to hold on.

It’s to be seen whether the board finds enough space in the dressing room for both our most successful Test captain and the most high-profile coach.

Even if it does, will the trust ever return' That’s the tormenting million rupee question.

For somebody accused of causing a schism, the first point Sourav made on returning home from Zimbabwe, early today, was to “keep the team out of any controversy”.

Back after leading India to its first Test series win outside the subcontinent in over 19 years, Sourav stated he would respond to Chappell’s e-mail ' sent to board president Ranbir Singh Mahendra ' but wouldn’t go public with what he had to say.

Not now, at least.

“Sure, I’ve got many things to speak about, from the first day of the Zimbabwe tour, but it won’t be proper to react through the media.' That can only add fuel to fire... I’m waiting for the board to invite me for Tuesday’s review meeting (in Mumbai),” Sourav said.

[Late tonight, board secretary S.K. Nair confirmed he would be called. Chappell was already on the invitees’ list.]

He added: “I don’t know why Greg chose to e-mail what he did and the media should keep the team out of any controversy. It’s between the coach and me. Having been part of successful teams for a decade, I don’t wish to say anything that may affect the players.”

It’s bizarre that Chappell condemned Sourav after working with him on just one full tour.

“I’m not commenting on the fairness bit.' One side of the story has come out, but I won’t make mine public before talking to the board,” Sourav maintained.

The e-mail was sent after the first Test (Bulawayo) which is why Chappell didn’t nail Sourav for lack of form. He scored a hundred there.

Frankly, the coach’s accusations don’t exactly add up.

Email This Page