A controversial reign
India's captain Sourav Ganguly is in favour of Greg Chappell, the former Australian great, taking on the job of Indian coach following John Wright's imminent departure.
Chappell is chosen as India's new coach amid tremendous media hype. A committee comprising Sunil Gavaskar, Ravi Shastri and Srinivas Venkataraghavan choose Chappell over Tom Moody, Mohinder Amarnath and Desmond Haynes. Chappell says that 'commitment to excellence' will be his watchword.
Two days after being appointed as coach, Chappell suggested that helping Sachin Tendulkar regain his form would be one of his priorities in the job.
Ganguly says that Chappell, the new coach of the Indian team, would get the full support of all the players. Ganguly said that it was unfair to compare Chappell with his predecessor, John Wright, who had shared a fruitful partnership with the captain.
The infamous Ganguly-Chappell spat erupts. Ganguly goes public with his dismay at Chappell's suggestions during the match that he step down from the captaincy. Chappell is not amused, maintaining that the Indian captain asked him for his honest opinion on his form and leadership in a private meeting between the two. Forty-eight hours after saying that he respected the Indian captain and looked forward to working with him in the future, Chappell fires off a damning memorandum to the BCCI.
The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) brokers what is widely perceived as an uneasy truce between Chappell and Ganguly following a high profile, closed-door meeting of the committee that lasted four hours.
Sensational television footage captures Chappell, India's coach, making an obscene finger gesture to a crowd of protestors while boarding the team bus in Kolkata. This was before the India-South Africa ODI in the city. He was subsequently censured by the board.
Shoaib Akhtar's bowling action comes under the spotlight following comments reportedly made by Chappell. "There is something seriously different about it [Shoaib's action]," he is quoted as saying.
Chappell tells London-based newspaper The Guardian that captaincy was utterly important to Ganguly's life and finances. It creates ripples in the media. Sharad Pawar, the Indian board president, announces that the BCCI wants to "close the chapter" on the controversial comments by Chappell on Ganguly. "Chappell admitted during the meeting that it had been a mistake on his part to have suggested that," says Niranjan Shah, the board secretary, who also attended the meeting.
India win the first ODI against West Indies in the five-match series and Chappell is asked the difference between the two sides. He mentions that West Indies struggle in pressure situations and adds, "That's probably because West Indies have forgotten how to win." West Indies go on to win the series 4-1 and Brian Lara, their captain, admits that Chappell's "sly remark" spurred them on.
Ganguly says that Chappell's coaching philosophy may not work in India. "They are saying process is more important than the results. I don't know how long it will work in India."
Chappell is slapped on the back by an enraged fan as complete chaos enveloped the Indian team's arrival at Bhubaneshwar airport for the second ODI against West Indies. Activists of the Kalinga Kamgar Sena, a fringe political outfit in Orissa, mingled with the enthusiastic fans waiting for the team and started shouting slogans against the selection.
Chappell reiterates that his face-off with Ganguly was never a battle between two personalities but merely a cricketing issue that was blown out of proportion. This is in the wake of Ganguly's return to the Test side in South Africa. "I look at it as one of my success stories," says Chappell. "He has resurrected his batting and could play another three years for India, which is fantastic. The only way he could address certain issues was to spend some time away reassessing all of his goals and ambitions. Somebody had to tell him that."
Chappell says he "wasn't surprised" with Ganguly's remarkable comeback into the Indian team, adding that the timing of his exclusion, when he was dropped in September 2005, had allowed Ganguly to return in time for the World Cup.
Chappell appears in what was probably his most volatile press conference in the job after India were ousted from the World Cup in the first round. "In light of recent events," he said, referring to the Bob Woolmer murder, "I am not going to be making any comments about what's wrong with anything or anybody."
Speculation is rife about Chappell's future. Chappell, it is reported, was unhappy with the behaviour of the seniors during the World Cup. The players, on the other hand, seem to be unhappy with Chappell for creating a sense of insecurity in the team.
Sachin Tendulkar reveals that India's cricketers would be most disappointed with Chappell, the coach, if he questioned their attitude.
Chappell will not be seeking an extension of his contract, which expired at the end of the World Cup. Chappell informed the board president of his decision, citing "family and personal reasons."