The Ganguly-Chappell monitor

Cricinfo chronicles the relationship between Sourav Ganguly and Greg Chappell which started off in such endearing fashion but has ended up with much mutual recrimination.

August 2003

Ganguly heads off to Australia to take coaching tips from Chappell. Advice such as `don't look out for bouncers' and 'try and move your back-foot to middle stump and look to play forward all the time' are reported in the press. Ganguly goes on to make a classic century at the Gabba.

April 6, 2005

Ganguly puts forth Chappell's candidature before senior board officials twice, during the one-day series against Pakistan.

July 4, 2005
Chappell speaks to Cricinfo on the dynamics of the coach-captain relationship. "Once the game starts, the captain's the one out on the field," he says. "He's the boss, it's his team. I think that's a very important demarcation between the two roles. The coach can't make any runs, can't take any wickets, and can't take any catches. He can't change the bowlers or order the field placings. That's the captain's job and he's got to have the support of the players."

July 9, 2005
Indian selectors announce probables for the pre-season camp in Bangalore. Chappell is keen on having Ganguly at the camp for a few days despite his assignments with Glamorgan in the English County Championship.

July 13, 2005
Ganguly joins the camp in Bangalore for two days. "Chappell will get help from everybody," Ganguly said. "There is Rahul Dravid, Sachin Tendulkar, Anil Kumble, VVS Laxman and a whole lot of young boys. So, I am sure that they are going to make his way easier. I hope he enjoys with the boys."

India lose the final of the Indian Oil Cup in Sri Lanka, where Ganguly makes 79 runs in 3 games, and falters again in the final of the Videocon Cup in Harare, where he manages 26.

September 8-10, 2005
Chappell and Ganguly are involved in a few mutual discussions during India's warm-up game at Mutare where Chappell suggests that India would be better served if Ganguly focused on getting his batting organised by stepping down from the captaincy.

September 11, 2005
Chappell admits that Ganguly's continuing slump is bound to affect the "other areas of his game", but added "I have no doubts he can make runs again. He's well aware of what he needs to do. There are some good signs on the way he's batted on this tour."

September 12, 2005
The matter of team selection comes up again before the first Test. Chappell reiterates that India should pick the best XI and when Ganguly pushes him for a frank opinion, Chappell says that left to him, he would have both Yuvraj Singh and Mohammad Kaif in the team ahead of Ganguly.

An angry Ganguly storms off to the dressing-room, summons Rahul Dravid and Amitabh Chowdhary, the manager, and informs them that he was packing his bags. Chowdhary asks Chappell to join in and all decide that Ganguly leaving in the middle of a tour would be disastrous.

September 15, 2005

Ganguly labours to his first century in 20 months and tells the media that he was asked to step down before the Test and that he found "extra determination" for this innings.

Ganguly's statement has the Indian media in a tizzy and rumours and stories fly thick and fast as India complete a convincing win at Bulawayo.

September 16, 2005

Both Ganguly and Chappell keep their counsel after the Test. "It's not right for me to make a statement now," said Ganguly. "You know what has been happening in Indian cricket. Other people are making the decisions; my silence says everything so I'll stick to it. Things come up from time to time and people get frustrated. They say things which probably they don't really mean and are not as important as they are made out to be. I think if we keep looking at success a lot of these issues would fade away."

Chappell adds that he is interested in following the right process: "There are some things which you can't control. We can only concentrate on what we are doing. I have been through this before. There is always going to be something bubbling around the place. We can't get worried about it or get involved in it."

September 17, 2005

Chappell dismisses reports that he threatened to resign. "I have no time to respond to such reports, it's absolute bullshit," he says. "Neither have I threatened to resign nor do I intend to resign."

Ganguly heads off for the scenic Victoria Falls while informing the media to the contrary. Chappell, on the other hand, heads for Harare, the venue of the second Test.

September 19, 2005

Chappell reads out a statement where he professes his respect for Ganguly and said the private discussion was aimed at motivating Ganguly for the Bulawayo Test. "It is disappointing that what was a private discussion between the captain and myself, has become a cause of public speculation. Even more disappointing is that much of what has been written does not represent the discussion fairly.

"It was a frank discussion about Indian cricket's present and future, and much of what I said was aimed at motivating Sourav for the Bulawayo Test match. In that regard our exchange was beneficial. Sourav and I share a mutual respect going back a long time. Thankfully, it is strong enough to survive what has occurred in the past week. I have great respect for what Sourav has achieved in his playing and captaincy career and look forward to working with him in the future."

September 20, 2005

Sachin Tendulkar speaks on the matter and says, "Such talks should not come out of the dressing-room and if it comes out then it's not right. Dressing-room discussions should remain within the dressing-room only. [The Indian board] should speak to the players after they come back. We would get the real story once they talk to the officials [after returning home]."

September 21, 2005

Ganguly says he has no problems in playing under anyone else. "Playing for India is more than enough," he tells The Sportstar, "and I have been captain for five years all around the world. I've got nothing left to prove as a captain. Really did not matter to me, actually it felt nice to play without any thoughts and just concentrate on my game. It doesn't matter who is the captain, it has to be a team and all 16 contributing if India has to do well from now on till whatever time."

September 23, 2005

Chappell questions Ganguly's ability to captain the side in an e-mail to Ranbir Singh Mahendra, Indian board president. Mahendra confirms receiving the mail.

Ganguly tells the Ananda Bazaar Patrika: "I will say whatever I want to the board. I hope the board will give me a chance to explain. You can imagine the character of a person who within hours of a truce goes and writes such an e-mail."

September 24, 2005

Ganguly returns from Zimbabwe and says the issue should stay between Chappell and him and not be allowed to drag down the team. He terms the e-mail as a "sensitive issue" and adds, "I will talk to the board on the issue if they ask me. It is a sensitive issue at the present moment and I do not want to say anything to stir it up again."

September 25, 2005
The full text of Greg Chappell's e-mail to BCCI is released by the media. More damning accusations against Ganguly surface. "This team has been made to be fearful and distrusting by the rumour mongering and deceit that is Sourav's modus operandi of divide and rule. Certain players have been treated with favour, all of them bowlers, while others have been shunted up and down the order or left out of the team to suit Sourav's whims."

Harbhajan speaks out in support of his captain: "Ganguly has rebuilt this team and whatever the team has achieved so far, credit goes to the captain". He accuses Chappell of instilling "fear and insecurity" among the players.

More team members rally around their captain. "You can't just talk to the Indian captain like that, asking him to stand down on the morning of a Test. Sourav has led India for long now and that's not the way a coach should talk, no matter what his stature is," said one player, who obviously did not want to be named.

BCCI responds by gagging Indian players and tells them to "exercise restraint" and avoid speaking out on the issue.

September 26, 2005
Ian Chappell bats for his brother: "If Indian cricket wanted someone who would passionately seek to help players who wanted to improve, would do his utmost to put the best team on the field for every match without fear or favour and would offer a frank opinion when asked, then they were on the right track with Greg Chappell."

Raj Singh Dungarpur, former BCCI president, accuses the Dalmiya camp for the e-mail leak. He says Ganguly has "no place in the future of Indian cricket" and that "If Dalmiya did not rule Indian cricket, Ganguly would have gone a long time ago". He lashes out against Harbhajan Singh as well: "He should concentrate on his arm, rather than talk about whether Ganguly is right or wrong ... once a chucker always a chucker".

Sourav Ganguly's maternal grandfather passes away. This throws an uncertainty over Ganguly's participation in the review committee meeting to be held tomorrow.

September 27, 2005
The Review Committee has a four-hour meeting in Mumbai - amid media frenzy at the Taj Mahal Hotel - and decides to retain Ganguly and Chappell. They also ask the two to work out a professional working relationship. Ranbir Singh Mahendra, the BCCI president, addresses the media where he says: "We have demarcated the difference in roles between the captain and coach. The captain has to control the game. The coach has to do his own job. When mutual trust is there, then both can discuss each and everything pertaining to the game."

September 28, 2005
Ganguly says he has been vindicated as he had done nothing wrong. "The review committee gave me a patient hearing," he says, "and I put my point of view across to them. I think they were reasonably convinced with my replies and I am very happy the matter has been settled now ... You could say I am happy and relieved in equal parts."

September 29, 2005
Harbhajan Singh escapes any major disciplinary actions for his comments about Chappell and the Punjab Cricket Association let him off with an advice "to exercise caution while talking to media."

September 30, 2005
Amitabh Choudhury, the manager of the Indian side on their recent tour to Zimbabwe, speaks out on the issue for the first time and says he was "astonished" with Sourav Ganguly's revelations to the media about goings on in the dressing-room and felt that he had "gone back on a deal".

Ravi Shastri, the former Indian captain, says the media should recognise the positives that have emerged from the so-called truce. Shastri, who was a member of the BCCI's six-member review committee, said that a lot of thought went into the final decision and added that it was based on 'cold logic'.