| Sourav Ganguly
Calcutta: Team India coach Greg Chappellís e-mail from Zimbabwe, which got leaked, has received wide publicity. It included damning allegations against captain Sourav Ganguly ' one, of course, pertained to his faking injury in Mutare.
Fact is Souravís right elbow problem began in the practice game there and he has now been advised to stay off competitive cricket till October 17.
Even though the Boardís review panel (which met in Mumbai last week) rubbished the allegations, Sourav has remained tight-lipped about what transpired in a second floor room of the ethereal Taj Mahal hotel.
However, The Telegraph has obtained portions of Souravís rebuttal from a well-placed source.
The bit relevant to Mutare ' from both sides, actually ' reads:
The following day (September 10) Sourav batted in the match against the Zimbabwe ĎAí team in the game in Mutare. I am not sure of the exact timing of events, because I was in the nets with other players when Sourav went into bat, but the new ball had either just been taken or imminent when I saw Sourav walking from the field holding his right arm. I assumed he had been hit and made my way to the playerís area where Sourav was receiving treatment from the team physiotherapist John Gloster. When I enquired as to what had happened, Sourav said he had felt a click in his elbow as he played a ball through the leg-side and that he thought he should have it investigated. Sourav had complained of pain in his elbow at various stages of the one-day series, but had resisted having any comprehensive investigations done and, from my observation, had been spasmodic in his treatment habits, often not using ice packs for the arm that had been prepared for him by John Gloster. I suggested, as had John Gloster, that we get some further tests done immediately. Sourav resisted these suggestions and said he would be Ďfineí. When I queried what he meant by Ďfineí, he said he would be fit for the first Test match. I then queried why then was it necessary to be off the field now. He said that he was just taking Ďprecautionsí. Rather than make a scene with other players and officials in the vicinity I decided to leave the matter and observe what Sourav would do from that point on. After the loss of Kaif, Yuvraj and Karthik to the new ball, Sourav returned to the crease with the ball now around 20 overs old. He struggled for runs against a modest attack and eventually threw his wicket away trying to hit one of the spinners over the leg-side. The next day I enquired with a number of players as to what they had thought of Souravís retirement. The universal response was that it was Ďjust Souraví as they recounted a list of times when Sourav had suffered from mystery injuries that usually disappeared as quickly as they had come. This disturbed me because it confirmed for me that he was in a fragile state of mind and that it was affecting the mental state of other members of the squad. When we arrived in Bulawayo I decided I needed to ask Sourav if he had over-played the injury to avoid the danger period of the new ball as it had appeared to me and others within the touring party that he had protected himself at the expense of others. He denied the suggestion and asked why he would do that against such a modest attack. I said that he was the only one who could answer that question. I was so concerned about the effect that Souravís actions were having on the team that I decided I could not wait until the selection meeting that evening to inform him that I had serious doubts about picking him for the first Test.
The next evening (September 9) we were batting and we had lost two wickets for nearly 300 runs on the board. The coach has alleged in his report that I didnít want to play the new ball and that is the reason I retired hurt in Mutare.
I donít know whether the coach is aware that I had a chat with Rahul Dravid in the lift and told him that as he had got a hundred, he could retire and I would bat from the first ball of the morning. This can be clarified with Dravid at any stage you want. If my intention was not to play the new ball, why would I have spoken to him as the new ball was due the next morning'
When play started, the coach was somewhere at the back of the ground doing something else, and did not notice that Laxman and I had already played 4 to 5 overs with the new ball.
I flicked a ball from Ireland to deep square leg and took 2 runs when I felt a click on my elbow. I took off my gloves and asked for John Gloster to come on to the field.
The game was held up for a good ten minutes, and when I couldnít pick up the bat again, we left the ground. We went in and John Gloster treated me. I asked if it was possible to give me an injection as well, but he said that it was not required at that moment. The reason I asked was that I wanted a good hit in the middle before the first Test.
I resumed after lunch. I had this pain in my elbow right from the one-day series itself and John Gloster was treating me throughout. I had even taken an elbow band from Rahul Dravid which I wore throughout the one-day series and at nets as well. He used the same band when he had a similar problem on the tour of England in 2002. Mr Chappell has said that I did not take proper treatment in terms of an ice pack but, as far as John Gloster was concerned, I had been having pain killers repeatedly along with his massage treatment.
He also said I rejected further tests, but I donít think he was aware of or tried to find out that there was no MRI machine in Mutare. That was also conveyed to the manager, Mr Choudhary. He (Chappell) also says that he did not want to make a scene in front of the players and officials as that would affect the team and the players, but he went the next day and asked them individually.
I had been appointed captain for the tour, and for any good team to prosper, the captain and coach have to work together. I donít think it is good for any team when the coach talks about the captain behind his back. It does not show trust and is a hindrance to the teamís improvement. The coach should have found out the exact situation before passing statements. It shows his mental make-up of complete distrust on everything.