The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Board mail after Sourav fax
- Chappell told to keep his comments to performance

Nagpur, March 2: The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has given Greg Chappell more than a rap on his knuckles: he has been directed, via an e-mail from secretary Niranjan Shah this evening, to refrain from commenting on anything other than the team’s “performance” and “prospects”.

Even when the coach does talk, it has to be “objective and restrained”.

The directive follows a written complaint from Sourav Ganguly, addressed to president Sharad Pawar, some 24 hours earlier. The former captain expressed acute unhappiness and took exception to Chappell’s “unwarranted” comments in an interview to a UK newspaper.

Despite the BCCI’s quick response, the possibility of Sourav initiating legal action against detractor No. 1 Chappell can’t be ruled out. In fact, there’s a fifty-fifty chance. If the cookie crumbles that way, one can expect Siddhartha Shankar Ray to come into the picture.

The former Union minister and Bengal chief minister successfully represented Sourav in two high-profile battles with the International Cricket Council (late 2004 and mid-2005).

The interview appeared yesterday and one excerpt ' “What I didn’t realise at that stage (tour of Zimbabwe, last August-September) was how important to his life and finances being captain was...” ' not just incensed Sourav, but the BCCI brass as well.

Out in the cold for the third time since Chappell succeeded John Wright 10 months ago, Sourav didn’t merely fax his complaint, but spoke to Shah (and, apparently, Pawar). The secretary was to have had a one-on-one with the president this morning, but it got deferred owing to his engagements on account of the George W. Bush visit.

“I could only talk to Mr Pawar in the evening.... He’d read Chappell’s comments and approved the letter I’d drafted... He agreed what had been said was unwarranted and hoped there would be no repetition... I sent the e-mail after his clearance,” Shah told The Telegraph.

The e-mail, it seems, ended with “...We do expect there won’t be any repetition....”

Chappell, by the way, maintained he hadn’t received any communication till just after 7 pm. Thereafter, he couldn’t be contacted.

Having cautioned Yuvraj Singh for taking a pro-Sourav line last week, the BCCI simply had to act. Indeed, earlier, Harbhajan Singh had been ticked off for backing the captain under whom he made his comeback (early 2001).

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