Committee asks captain and coach to work together
Here's a and blow-by-blow account of one of the most eventful days in Indian cricket.
5.25pm - Committee's decision - Captain and coach to stay
Sourav Ganguly and Greg Chappell will stay as captain and coach of the Indian team. The review committee heard Chappell and Ganguly, and asked them to forge a working relationship. It also cleared Ganguly of the charges levelled against him by Chappell, blaming it on "some miscommunication". Further, it issued a blanket ban on the coach or any player appoaching the media on this issue, and warned that anyone violating this code would be dealt with severely.
Speaking to the media after the meeting, Ranbir Singh Mahendra, the president of the Indian board, said: "The commmittee has heard Greg Chappell, Amitabh Choudhury [the team manager] and Sourav Ganguly. After hearing them, the committee has discussed everything in detail and was of the view that cricket is to go forward. Both coach and captain have to work out mutually and a professional working relationship is to be maintained, and for this performance will be the criterion. This applies to the captain, it applies to the coach and the players. The committee has also taken a decision that henceforth no player, captain or coach will write or have any interaction with the media [on this issue]. Any player going to the media will face disciplinary action.
"All these decisions have been taken by the committee to keep the interests of Indian cricket in mind. I would also like to clarify some of the points with regard to injuries attributes to Ganguly: after hearing the concerned people, the committee came to the conclusion that there is some miscommunication and whatever has been stated is far from the truth. At the conclusion of the meeting the coach and the captain were together and have assured the board that they will work together in the interest of Indian cricket.
"We have demarcated the difference in roles between the captain and coach. The captain has to control the game. The coach has to do his own job. When mutual trust is there, then both can discuss each and every thing pertaining to the game. We cannot presume that there is no trust. They [Chappell and Ganguly] are confident that they will do it. Both coach and captain are happy with the arrangement and the committee is confident of them working together. "
5:05pm - Meeting ends
After nearly four hours of discussions, the Review Committee meeting ended and a press conference is expected to start soon. The committee heard the views of Chappell and Ganguly - independently and together - and also invited Amitabh Choudhary, the team manager, to give his views.
4:30pm - Chappell and Ganguly face committee together
The Review Committee heard the views of Chappell and Ganguly independently before calling them both in for a joint discussion. The press conference, originally scheduled for 4:30pm, was delayed and it appears as though the discussions have reached a final phase.
3:40pm - Nehra arrives
While the review commitee meeting was going on in an undisclosed room at the Taj Mahal hotel, Ashish Nehra also arrived at the premises. It is unclear whether he will be appearing before the committee or was here for an unrelated purpose.
3.25pm - Ganguly gets his chance
And finally, the much-anticipated moment arrived about two-and-a-half hours after the Review Committee meeting began. Sourav Ganguly entered the meeting and began to put forth his side of the story. He is believed to have brought proof to rebut the coach's allegations.
2.45pm - Chappell first up in front of committee
The meeting to try and effect a patch-up between Greg Chappell and Sourav Ganguly went well into its second hour, with all parties involved having assembled. Amitabh Choudhary, the manager on the Zimbabwe tour, had gone into the room - and it is not even entirely clear which room this meeting is happening in. He was the second to depose before the review committee, the first being Chappell. Ganguly was yet to step in to bat. The originally scheduled 4.30pm press conference looked unlikely to take place on time, with a lunch break on the cards.
1:20 pm - Chaos and confusion ahead of meeting
Hordes of photographers lined up on the steps of the Taj Mahal Hotel, eagerly awaiting the arrival of Greg Chappell, Sunil Gavaskar and Ravi Shastri. However, Cricinfo has learned that the review committee meeting had already got under away. As always there was no one from the Indian board to disseminate information. Amid all the chaos the concerned parties had arrived at the hotel, and were whisked away through a side entrance so that they could get down to business unencumbered. Gavaskar, who was due to go to Pune to be with his ailing father, had stayed back to attend this meeting.
12:30pm - Gavaskar to attend
Sunil Gavaskar is expected to attend the meeting, despite talks that he was leaving for Pune to visit his ailing father. Gavaskar, who is yet to arrive at the Taj Mahal Hotel, has delayed his trip to Pune in order to attend the meeting.
12.20pm - Media awaits, Chappell delayed
Ten minutes before the scheduled start of the most awaited meeting of the Indian cricket board, the five members had not yet assembled at the Taj Mahal Hotel in South Mumbai. A media corp easily exceeding 100, from all parts of India - and you don't get that many for a Test match sometimes - was assembled and lying in wait. Greg Chappell, the coach, and the man at the centre of recent storms, was on his way from the airport, while Sunil Gavaskar, was not expected to attend, as he was with his ailing father Manohar, in Pune. The air was thick with whispers and rumour of compromise. However, nothing concrete was expected to emerge till 4.30pm, when a representative of the review committee was to brief the press.
John Gloster, the team physio, will also be attending the meeting and might be asked to provide documentation if necessary.
11.30am - Another compromise in the offing?
With just hours to go before the review committee meets in Mumbai there is talk of some sort of compromise being worked out between warring captain and coach. The broad contours of the `truce' could be that the board vouches its continuing trust in Greg Chappell, while it reprimands Sourav Ganguly. The committee, however, also allows him one or two more series to earn a place in the Indian squad - and if he performs that well - to even continue as captain.
All the committee members -- Sunil Gavaskar, Ravi Shastri, Srinivas Venkataraghavan, along with Ranbir Singh Mahendra, the board president, SK Nair, the secretary, and Jagmohan Dalmiya - are already in town while Ganguly who lost his maternal grandfather yesterday, is arriving in Mumbai before noon. There are currently some doubts over Gavaskar attending the meeting since he may be leaving for Pune where his father is seriously ill.
Troubleshooters in the board are apparently at work trying to soften Chappell's stance, trying to convince him that an either-me-or-him attitude will, ultimately, be to nobody's benefit. A public endorsement of Chappell's general direction for the future of Indian cricket ought to placate him. As for Ganguly two home series against Sri Lanka - October 25 to November 12 - and South Africa, from November 16 to 28 will be an ideal reprieve: one that could see him work his way back into the reckoning or in the case of a worst-case scenario allow him a dignified exit.