Indian coach under fire for remarks on legislators November 27, 2006

Politicians turn up heat on Chappell

Cricinfo staff



Greg Chappell's reasons for India's failures have not been bought by all © AFP

The running battle between Indian politicians and Greg Chappell, India's coach, escalated on Monday with one federal minister demanding Chappell face a privilege motion in Parliament. This was a fallout of Chappell's response to earlier criticism from Indian politicians, suggesting they were paid to talk and criticise.

"They are entitled to make any comment they like. That's what they are paid to do in parliament," Chappell was quoted as saying from Cape Town, on Sunday, soon after India lost the third one-dayer to South Africa by 106 runs.

According to an AFP report Renuka Choudhary, the federal minister for women and child development, told a television channel that Chappell must face a privilege motion in parliament, where he could be reprimanded for his comments. Another politician, Gurudas Dasgupta, said Chappell "had no business" to make such comments against MPs. "[He] does not understand the nuances of democracy", Dasupta said, while Somnath Chatterjee, the Speaker of the Lower House, added: "Let nobody lecture us on what the MPs' job is".

BCCI official Rajeev Shukla, an MP and member of the ruling Congress party, came to Chappell's rescue, saying politicians were going overboard on what was essentially a sporting defeat. "Chappell should definitely have refrained from making an observation about MPs, because they are entitled to speak about the performance of the Indian team," he told Press Trust of India. "At the same time, I don't feel he meant to show any kind of disrespect towards MPs. I would request MPs also to maintain a little bit of restraint while making comments about players and coach.

"Those who follow cricket have every right to speak, but there are certain MPs who don't know the A-B-C-D of cricket and they are abusing the players and the coach. Tomorrow, if cricket players get up and start abusing MPs then what will happen?"

Meanwhile, in another reaction to the defeat, a group of people, claiming to be supporters of the Lok Janshakti Party, vandalised Mohammad Kaif's house. "A number of them tried to storm the house, broke some electric bulbs and plastered the name plate with mud," police were quoted as saying by PTI. "They also raised slogans against Sharad Pawar for persisting with Greg Chappell as the coach of the Indian team and burnt their effigies."

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