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."