Indian cricket November 6, 2008

People poisoned Chappell against me - Ganguly

Cricinfo staff

Sourav Ganguly: "The fact that I wasn't playing ODIs played a big part [in deciding to retire]. If I'd been playing in both forms of the game, perhaps I would've thought differently" © AFP

Sourav Ganguly has said he believes people outside the team poisoned Greg Chappell against him, leading to his removal from the captaincy and, for a while, from the team. Ganguly, who will bow out after the Nagpur Test against Australia, said he would not have been in the team for the current Test series against Australia if the "old selection committee had stayed" and that he would have "thought differently" about his retirement had he still been playing one-day cricket.

"The thing that hurt me the most, in my whole career, was that public email he [Chappell] sent - what was written in it and the tone in which it was written," he told the Indian Express. "It was very upsetting, and I found it strange because I didn't think we'd spent enough time together in the team for him to form such a strong opinion about me. I'm convinced that some people had poisoned him against me."

Asked whether they were people in the team, he said, "No, outside the team.'

The email was subsequently leaked to the media and Ganguly was out of the team till he staged a comeback late in 2006.

Chappell was appointed as coach with the backing of Ganguly, then India captain. "I'd discussed my batting with him a couple of times and he'd been very helpful. Most of the others wanted [Tom] Moody but I pushed for Chappell. You could say it was my biggest mistake, but I had the best for Indian cricket at heart. People joke with me that I was to blame for getting them stuck with him."

Ganguly suggested he might have continued for longer if he was still a part of India's ODI team. "I'm sure it's [retirement] never easy for anyone," he said. "But there were a lot of factors. I'd been left out of the Irani team, and I'd been out of the one-day side for a while. The fact that I wasn't playing ODIs played a big part. If I'd been playing in both forms of the game, perhaps I would've thought differently. I always wanted to leave on a high. There is no point being pushed around, dragging on for the last few years when nobody wants you."

Ganguly, however, said he still had "great respect" for Dilip Vengsarkar, the chairman of the previous selection committee. "If he hadn't been the chief selector, I would've never made a comeback in 2006 [in South Africa]. I may not have agreed with his dropping me from the one-day team and the Irani, but that's okay."

Ganguly felt his fielding was the reason that cost him a place in the ODI team; he was dropped for the CB Series in Australia earlier this year. "I did think I should have played one-day cricket for longer. I was included in only some 30-odd matches in the last three years. In no other country can a player who's scored 12,000 runs in his career be used so sparingly.

"I believe it had to do with my fielding, and because they wanted to build a team for the 2011 World Cup. I didn't think I'd be around for that long, so I knew my one-day career was over after being left out for the Australia series."

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  • V.L on November 8, 2008, 18:51 GMT

    If there's anyone in this world that can beat Ganguly at guts its Ganguly himself.. I am a big fan of his never say die attitude. Hope someone talkis him out of retirement like Pietersen did to Harmison. He can play test cricket for atleast a few more years..

  • chris on November 7, 2008, 3:30 GMT

    I am with 9742791699, you could take andrew Symonds with you. As an Ausie cricket lover, I would be glad to give up this series to see you score a big 100, I hope you carry your bat in both innings.

  • ramandeep on November 7, 2008, 1:58 GMT

    Ganguly is the guy with the guts, who lift indian team morale by not bowing out to other teams. before his gutsy display I always saw indian team players let other teams to push them around. and every wrong thing happened with india and indian team accept it without resistance. he showed guts, and my favorite is the **shirtless dada** incident.. after that now we can see indian team act like they are not the one whom anyone can push around,and his batting - who can forget the display his knock against sri lanka in 1999 world cup semi with dravid on other side...awesome....

  • Premnadh on November 7, 2008, 1:49 GMT

    Ganguly is the most successful captain of India and his winning in Australia is the greatest victory also. He made the trend at Bisbane with his century to attack Aussies and eventually India could win at Adelide at a time no one could think of even having a five day test match against Aussies. It was so unfortunate that he had to face such drama from the BCCI. Greg Chappel should have been just a coach to a team which is slected and given rather than seeking super roles. It was sad to see Greg Chappel like great cricketer behind money and with hidden agednda to deal cricket. yes cricket is now a big business. I wish Ganguly all the best and I hope he will contribute more to Indian cricket. He would be a good role model to any one how to cope with situations in life. I would say when he would be the selector he will do the best job, same when he would be the coach. All the best dada.

  • Zuber on November 6, 2008, 20:35 GMT

    Thank you for the memories Dada. its kind of funny how your best batting average has been over the last few years but still isint good enough. Hats off to you indian cricket may never be as elegant ever again. sorry you did not get the respect you deserved. best of luck with the rest of it. late

  • Anuj on November 6, 2008, 19:59 GMT

    Sourav, you are one of India's greatest cricketers and you are going out on a high note with your head held high. Greg Chappel can't say the same about himself, so it is for the world to see who is a better man. You will sorely be missed, but like someone suggested, please make a positive contribution to Indian cricket like Sunil Gavaskar. Collectively the two of you can stand up better to the Aussie bullies! I wish you were the captain one last time - no one can get under the skins of the Aussies better than you! Hats off to one of the modern greats!!!!!!

  • P on November 6, 2008, 14:55 GMT

    We all know Ganguly took his place in the team for granted while he was captain. When he made his comeback in 2006, he had to work hard to remain in the team. That dedication was missing in the last couple of years of his captaincy. We know Dada can't field, and only other thing (besides captaincy) he could have contributed with was his batting.

    Dropping him from the side made him more determined and that resulted in better batting performance from him against SA, PA and AUS.

  • Somnath on November 6, 2008, 13:59 GMT

    Dada, you have gone up a few notches more in my eyes by stating the truth including your weakness in fielding. Your contribution to Indian cricket has been "Team India" and its resurgence not to mention your beautiful record braking and awe inspiring opening partnerships with that little darling Sachin in the ODIs. And I sincerely pray that you go out in a blaze of glory by getting a hundred at Nagpur and helping India to bat the Aussies out of the game and the series. Most importantly in continuation of your services to the cause of Indian cricket, i sincerely hope that you will be associated in the form of an administrator / opinion maker and join ranks with Mr. Sunil Gavaskar, another of India's illustrous cricketing sons in furthering the cause of Indian cricket. Indian cricket needs men of stature, integrity and patriotic feeling who are bold, media savvy and knowledgeable about the intricacies of the game. And who better than you!

  • vishnu on November 6, 2008, 13:48 GMT

    Now that DADA is playing his last test match, lets not deviate the far as I think, DADA does not need to prove anybody anything, he already has 20,000 international runs & 37 international centuries to his name alongside the tag of India's most successful test captain, these are enough to speak of him as a player & captain. I personally am very emotional about this man..I might not watch cricket with much intensity now as I used to watch when he played...this was the impact that such great players have on people....

  • Nathan on November 6, 2008, 13:03 GMT

    Sourav was the first Indian captain to rise above the narrow parochialism that has plagued Indian cricket. He backed Harbajan & Yuvraj (Punjab), Sehwag (Delhi), Kaif (UP), Laxman (AP)and fought for them. They are quality cricketers but his support played a big part in their success. Also he did not support Deep Dasgupta (wicket keeper batsman )despite being from his own state. The second contribution is he bought in the confidence into the team. Some could say arrogance but he still changed the attitude of the players.

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