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March 5, 2006
Sharad Pawar, the Indian board president, met with senior cricketers in the Indian team and coach Greg Chappell on the eve of the final day's play of the Nagpur Test, and later announced that the BCCI wanted to "close the chapter" on the controversial comments by Chappell on Sourav Ganguly. "Chappell admitted during the meeting that it had been a mistake on his part to have suggested that [captaincy was utterly important to Ganguly's life and finances]," said Niranjan Shah, the board secretary, who also attended the meeting.
Addressing the media after the meetings, which took place at around 9.30pm, Pawar said Chappell had assured the board that he would not talk about any individual players and restrict his comments to the team's performance. Referring to Chappell's interview to The Guardian in which he made certain remarks about Ganguly, Pawar said "we expressed our displeasure to Chappell on this issue and he has assured that he would not make any comments about any individual player. We want to close the chapter here."
Apart from Pawar, Shah and Shashank Manohar, the vice-president, were also present at the meetings, the first of which was attended by Rahul Dravid, Virender Sehwag, Sachin Tendulkar and Anil Kumble. Shah said Chappell's comments were not discussed in that meeting: "It was a general discussion and Chappell's recent remarks about Ganguly were not brought up." After the players left, the BCCI officials met Chappell for about 30 minutes.
Responding to queries about Ganguly's reported threat of going to court over the remarks, Pawar said: "If the contract [with the BCCI] does not prohibit him from going to court, he is free to do so. Otherwise he cannot."
In the controversial interview to The Guardian, 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".
Ganguly responded by strongly voicing his displeasure over the comments in a letter to Pawar, who warned Greg Chappell against making "unwarranted" remarks in the media about Ganguly and asked him to "confine his comments to performance of the team".
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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