In a sensational twist to the ongoing spat that is destabilising the Indian cricket team, Greg Chappell, the coach, has reportedly questioned Sourav Ganguly's ability to captain the side. Television news channels have alleged that Chappell had sent a six-page email complaining about Ganguly's behaviour to the Indian board (BCCI).
When contacted by Cricinfo Chappell said he was "extremely disappointed, but not entirely surprised" that a confidential report sent by the coach to the president and secretary of the board had been leaked to the media, but refused to comment further on the issue.
The Ananda Bazar Patrika, the Kolkata daily which initially reported this story, summarised Chappell's email as saying the following:
1. Ganguly is so desperate to retain his captaincy that he is constantly working to create fissures within the team.
2. The skipper is no longer able to meet the standards of mental and physical fitness that international cricket demands.
3. He has lost the trust and respect of his team mates and no longer enjoys the status of a leader.
4. The injuries that Ganguly has suffered in the recent past are mostly imaginary.
5. If the Indian team is looking to develop as a unit for the 2007 World Cup, it will be severely hampered by Ganguly's negative attitude.
6. The captain absolutely refuses to go by the fitness training procedures in place for the team
Ranbir Singh Mahindra, the BCCI president, confirmed receiving a letter from Chappell but refused to reveal the content. "Yes, I have received an email from Greg Chappell but I cannot divulge the contents as that is confidential." Chappell's letter has apparently raised serious reservations about Ganguly's attitude and behaviour, apart from saying he was a disruptive influence on the team.
For his part, Ganguly said, "Yes there are differences of opinion [between captain and coach], but the rest of the boys needn't be pulled into it".
The fissures between captain and coach first came to the fore when Ganguly revealed that Chappell had asked him to step down as captain before the start of the first Test against Zimbabwe at Bulawayo. Chappell then responded by saying he had made this suggestion only to motivate the captain.
That seemed to have ended the matter, with the two even providing a photo-op playing pool together. But with the latest missive from Chappell any chance of a dignified ending to this episode seems remote.