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March 3, 2006
Sourav Ganguly has written to Sharad Pawar, the Indian board president, taking strong exception to Greg Chappell's controversial remarks about him in an interview to a British newspaper. In the letter, a copy of which was marked to Niranjan Shah, the BCCI secretary, Ganguly made it clear that he was deeply annoyed and disturbed over Chappell's remarks. He also called up Shah and spoke to him on the issue.
The Indian board yesterday warned Greg Chappell against making "unwarranted" remarks in the media about Ganguly and asked him to "confine his comments to performance of the team". The formal warning to Chappell was issued by the BCCI through a letter barely a day after the controversial remarks on Ganguly was published. "We have written to Chappell regarding his interview in The Guardian and particularly his comments on Ganguly. We feel those remarks were unwarranted," Shah told PTI. "We have asked him [Chappell] to confine his comments to performance of the team. And we are confident that these things will not be repeated in the future."
"What had upset Ganguly most was Chappell's comments in the interview given to the newspaper that the Kolkata stalwart wanted to cling on to the India captaincy for financial reasons," Shah added.
In the interview, Chappell said he had advised Ganguly to step down as captain in his own interest "to give himself mind space to work on his batting so that it could be resurrected but he was not prepared to do that". Chappell was also quoted as saying that "what I didn't realise at that stage was how utterly important to his life and finances being captain was".
This is the latest controversy in what has been a chequered series of events involving Chappell, Ganguly and the Indian board. Since taking over as India's coach last May, Chappell and Ganguly have not seen eye to eye on most issues, culminating in a controversial public spat in September. Ganguly, meanwhile, has found himself in and out of the Test side.
The emotional nature of the issue was highlighed after a full-house crowd at the Eden Gardens in Kolkata, Ganguly's home city, during a one-day international against South Africa in November booed the Indian team following their dismal performance. Chappell who was heckled by Ganguly's fans outside the ground responded by making a finger gesture.
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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