Dungarpur accuses Dalmiya camp for leak
Never quite known to be discreet, Dungarpur seems to have, however, surpassed himself. Speaking on the eve of what could well be one of Indian cricket's turning point's - the board's review committee meets in the city to debate, among other things, the ramifications of Chappell's falling out with his captain - he said: "If Dalmiya did not rule Indian cricket, Ganguly would have gone a long time ago. They will try and thrash out a compromise, but for how long that works remains to be seen. The same panel which appointed Chappell just three months ago is unlikely to turn against him."
According to the Press Trust of India Dungarpur, who has managed four Indian teams in the past, said he was "numbed to learn that Dalmiya is behind the leaking of the confidential e-mail essentially sent to the board president" by Chappell. He added that Chappell had been asked to send a report via e-mail not only to Ranbir Singh Mahendra, the board president, and the secretary but also to Kiran More, the selection committee chairman, and Dalmiya, among others.
"I shudder to imagine how such a sensitive report was marked to all and sundry. The entire exercise is nothing but to save one man, Sourav Ganguly", he said. He claimed that Dalmiya cannot afford to even mildly admonish Ganguly because such action would not go down well in Kolkata where he lives.
"No wonder, Ganguly is so emboldened by this spineless former ICC chief and he has now no qualms in undermining coach Greg Chappell and openly challenging him," Dungarpur alleged. "Ganguly knows he has the license to kill as long as Dalmiya is there."
He also came down severely on Harbhajan Singh's statement yesterday supporting his captain. "He should concentrate on his arm, rather than talk about whether Ganguly is right or wrong," he said. "Once a chucker always a chucker," was his verdict on Harbhajan, who recently crossed the 200-wicket mark in Test cricket.
Dungarpur recalled several occasions when players, including some greats, blew their top and had to be reined in. "In the 1984 match against Pakistan, Kapil Dev was clearly out lbw. But he didn't think so and back in the dressing room he started banging his head against the wall and proceeded to wreck his bat," he said. "I had to caution him to take it easy and not to let the incident snowball into a confrontation with the opposing team and drag our name in the mud."
The former board president also described the current controversy as more serious than the episode in 1936 when Lala Amarnath was sent back from England by the team manager "for indiscipline".
Saying that differences of opinion, however serious, should be kept confined to the dressing room, Dungarpur sought to shed more light on Ganguly's insecurity. "Recently he met me at Lord's where I found him unduly perturbed and fidgety on the matter of his six-match ban for slow over rates. I then took him to meet ICC president Eshan Mani to see if he could do something to reduce it. Eshan said he won't be able to do anything but advised Ganguly to take it easy - that there was so much cricket being played, missing a few matches should actually be seen as a relief. My point is I have nothing, no axe to grind against Ganguly."
Dungarpur argued that the coach-captain spat should be resolved on the merits of the issue and that no quarter should be given to player indiscipline. He spoke about Harbhajan being a perpetual defaulter in this regard and how he was even known to tear up dietary charts whenever vexed with coaching regimens.
Meanwhile, Lalit Modi, president of the Rajasthan Cricket Association has filed a petition in the Supreme Court seeking the reinstatement of the two observers for the board's AGM when it reconvenes. The petition also appealed to the court to order the AGM to be held before September 30 and not in two months time as the Calcutta High Court has decreed.