The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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BCCI takes the Sunny line
Sourav Ganguly and Greg Chappell.

Calcutta: For now, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) is taking the Sunil Gavaskar-line on Sourav Ganguly’s comeback. Basically, that if there’s any “tension” between him and Greg Chappell, they ought to sort things out themselves.

“Both are mature... Both are professionals... We don’t have to take the initiative in bringing them together, so to say,” secretary Niranjan Shah told The Telegraph on Friday, some 24 hours after the former Team India captain made a return (for the Test series in South Africa) after nine months.

Gavaskar, who is already in South Africa on a Media assignment, made the following comment on Thursday: “They are grown up people and should be able to handle any tension, as you (the Media) term it, in the interest of the team...”

While Sourav made two comebacks in the early months of Chappell’s tenure, late last year, he hadn’t been away from the dressing room for too long a period. This return, therefore, is different. Moreover, he’s the selection committee’s choice.

The dressing room-vibes are going to have an impact not just on Sourav’s performance, but India’s collective show. Captain Rahul Dravid’s attitude, by the way, will be as important as that of the coach. Perhaps, even more.

Another BCCI official, though, disagreed with Shah.

He said: “It may not be a bad idea if the manager (Prakash Dixit) for the ODIs, who stays back till December 8 or so, gets Sourav and Chappell to quickly reach the same wavelength... Even the captain could be present at that meeting...”

Dixit isn’t returning immediately after the ODIs as Chetan Desai, manager-designate for the Tests, has “personal problems” which need a few days to be sorted out.

Significantly, straight-talking selection committee chairman Dilip Vengsarkar is going to be in South Africa for the first two (if not all three) Tests. He’s the one who had a “dialogue” with Chappell and Dravid before the 16 got chosen.

A former captain himself, Vengsarkar has gone on record saying he and his colleagues have selected the team “for India and not any one individual.” With him around, then, Sourav need not be worried about possibly getting a raw deal.

At the same time, even he must make a gesture to signal that the past really is past.

While Sourav will be landing in South Africa on Monday, Vengsarkar is going to be there a few days before the Test series begins, on December 15.

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