Spat resolved in the `larger interests of the game'



The spat between Ganguly and Chappell was resolved in the expected manner with both of them shaking hands "in the larger interests" of the game. It is rather strange that it took a real nasty exchange and the intervention of the BCCI to make the captain and the coach see the broader perspective. Sourav Ganguly triggered the whole episode by revealing a part of the dressing room conversation and Chappell responded by clarifying his position with an elaborate mail. What is really incomprehensible is that none of the BCCI officials bothered to clarify as to who leaked the confidential mail from Chappell to the press. The most crucial aspect has been adroitly shoved under the carpet though there have been some statements indicating that investigation is already underway to identity the culprit.

Greg Chappell and Sourav had their moments to explain and they both have emerged with a sense of triumph. Sourav was guilty of breaching a few clauses but the BCCI once again allowed the "Prince of Kolkata" to get away unscathed. Of course, the captain is allowed to speak to the press but he should exercise caution while doing so. By being inactive, the BCCI has not made the coach's job any easier as he cannot enforce discipline without attracting adverse reactions from the rest of the team members. On the other hand, the remarks of Chappell on Ganguly will diminish Sourav's esteem if he happens to retain his captaincy.

Different cultures

The whole fracas between Chappell and Ganguly only served to underline the difference in the cricketing cultures of India and Australia. The Indian way is more an individual oriented one unlike the Australian system where no individual is bigger than the needs of the team. Chappell could not strike the right pitch in putting his views across but then once again he has his job to do. He is well within his limits to pull up anyone under his charge but Ganguly has disproved him on certain counts. The main bone of contention between Ganguly and Chappell was apparently about the skipper's imaginary injuries, which was termed as "miscommunication." If this is taken seriously, it becomes difficult to understand how two people who talk past each other are in charge of the team. Moreover, Chappell went overboard by being unkind to his predecessor, John Wright and to be honest, Wright has never made it a point to cultivate the media in all those five long years with the Indian team.

The time has come for India to well and truly focus on the future and this can happen only under a change of guard under the circumstances. The dual captain theory was discussed and it will be interesting to see if the selection committee takes that route. The curious thing will be to see in which version of the game Ganguly will find favour from the selectors. If they retain him as skipper for the one-dayers, then it will put the coach in a very embarrassing situation. To retain him for the Tests will not enhance their reputations though Ganguly has scored a century in the last Test series.

Ganguly perhaps can make it easier for everyone by handing over the charge to Dravid. Ganguly can focus more on his batting and still contribute with the bat as his ability as a cricketer is not under the microscope. However, the Prince of Kolkata is used to being the skipper and I wonder if he will see the larger interests of Indian cricket in this context.

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