'Our decision was based on cold logic' - Shastri
Ravi Shastri, the former Indian captain, has said that the media should take into account the positives that have emerged from the so-called truce between Sourav Ganguly and Greg Chappell. As a member of the Indian board's six-member review committee which last Tuesday prevailed upon the coach and captain to bury the hatchet, Shastri said, "Let me assure you that a lot of thought went into our final decision".
"Those who say we took the easy way out couldn't be more wrong," Shastri told the Bangalore-based newspaper Deccan Herald. "Our decision was based on cold logic. We discussed the consequences of taking drastic action, and came to the conclusion that this wasn't the time for punitive action. There is no point acting in haste and accentuating the problem, if any."
Ever since Ganguly, in the middle of the Zimbabwe tour, raised the spectre of a domineering coach and Chappell subsequently responded with an email to the board indicting the captain, there have been widespread speculation and prognoses on the state of Indian cricket.
"There is no doubt in my mind that this is the biggest controversy to have hit Indian cricket since the match-fixing scandal in mid-2000," Shastri continued. "Both on and off the field - and when I say off the field, I refer to the administrative shambles - Indian cricket has hit rock-bottom. We couldn't have afforded another trial by the media and the public at this stage. That neither Greg nor Sourav has a problem working with each other despite the happenings of the last fortnight is a very positive development."
With Ganguly professing his continuing respect for Chappell, and the committee's additional carrot which emphasised performance as the sole criterion for eligibility in the team, the coach was provided a dignified exit route. With the entire nation's attention on him, it is now for Ganguly to perform.
"Being part of the media myself, I can state with authority that there is enough food on the table for the media, both print and electronic, to gorge themselves for the next 25 days or so despite the gag imposed by the board on the players," Shastri continued. "Once the Sri Lanka series starts, however, I think the media should stop feasting and go on a month's fast, allowing cricket to have its say."