Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Chappell VS Ganguly; Drama Ends in anticlimax

So once again we saw the worst infight melting down to a meek compromise. The peace-broker, BCCI, must be heaving a sigh of relief as it doused another flaming controversy and now they can concentrate on their own battle, the Elections. But does this truce means peace in Indian Cricket? Here is a post-mortem of the incidents that leads to the final show-down between the henchmen of Indian Cricket and the subsequent truce.

If you haven’t seen the full text of Greg Chappell’s e-mail, here is the copy of it.


These are the main points Greg Chappell raised.

  1. Saurav is not in a right frame of mind to lead Team India
  2. He is faking injuries to avoid facing fast bowlers and new balls.
  3. Spreading rumors to team mates that they are not wanted by the new coach, or in short bad-mouthing him within the team.
  4. He is biased in his approach to team mates and
  5. Manipulating team composition to save his place in team.

All these started with Saurav’s explosive revelations to the media right after his century in the 1st test against Zimbabwe that he has been asked to step down. In his e-mail to the BCCI, Mr. Chappell vehemently deny this accusation and explained that it is Saurav who asked him as to what he thinks about his future in Indian Cricket. Being an Aussie, he made some frank observations, and Saurav went on to make a big issue of it. But that’s all now water under the bridge and let’s focus on this current issue, that WHAT HAD CHANGED now after the meeting to declare a ceasefire and shake hands? What was the role the review committee played to solve the acrimony between the coach and Captain? Who benefited from this fracas?

The immediate winner is, once again and as long as Dalmiya is at the helm of BCCI, Ganguly. He has not only held on to the captaincy but cleared his tarnished image that of scared of real fast bowling and negative influence in team. And got another chance to captain India.

From Chappell’s point of view, he is the winner in terms of long term goals. He knows that from now onwards he has a say in selection matters, Ganguly has to perform with the bat which is highly unlikely, and stamped his authority on the players.

The real winner, in short and long term, is Dalmiya. He has not only saved his protégé from going out unceremoniously, but made sure that he retained his captaincy and supremacy at least for the time being. And he bought more time for himself to fight off the threat of Pawar. Any drastic action should invite more criticism to him.

But the way Chappell and Ganguly accepted the formula put out by BCCI surprised every one. Every one was aware what Ganguly was up to. He just wants to save his place and even before the review committee meeting he was assured about it. But Chappell, a tough taskmaster, the typical Aussie, went down without a fight?

Now Ganguly won the confidence of the BCCI, and Chappell is being told in no uncertain terms that Captain is king on the field, and Coach should interfere only things off the field, has he lost his vision? Is The Commitment to Excellence a watered down version from now onwards? If members of the team defy him, what can he do? Has he found a place for Ganguly in his scheme of things? What about the negative influence?

The truce raised many questions than it answered. As Mahendra put it, from now onwards the selection criteria will be only performance. Does that mean it was not so until now? The answer of this question is public knowledge, yet he has to answer it.

Chappell must be fuming inside and this may reflect in his future approach to the team. A wary coach and un-trusting members is recipe for disaster. The after all the hand-shakes and media exercises just one fact emerges as ever. The loser in this drama is Cricket the game. And the true lovers of the game let down by the keepers. There may be more of this drama to come and more tamasha will be enacted before once again them shake-hands and patch-up. But the Cricket is dying here. A slow, painful death and only some divine intervention can save it from it’s sad destiny.

1 comment:

khelnayak said...

Hi mathew,
Thanks for the comment in my blog. Surprisingly, your blog didnt turn up when i had blog searched for 'sports + India'. Or maybe, it came towards the end and i didnt check out.

Neways, the outcome was expected. It would be interesting to see how the coach and captain go about in the next series. I wont be surprised if in another 6 months, chappell announces his retirement.

I also went through your previous post on athleticism. And I am a living example of the things you have mentioned. If not for financial constraints(plus lack of security, incapable system etc...), I would have been a budding sprinter/middle distance runner rather than existing as a s/w engineer. Though things are changing a bit and it would take some time for them to be visible.

Keep up your blogging! :)