Chappell was trying to end my career, says Ganguly in a book
By Aditya Pratap - Jan 25, 2018 3:28 pm
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Former Indian skipper Sourav Ganguly had the darkest hour at the helm when Australia’s Greg Chappell came to coach Team India. The infamous relation between both of them is not hidden to anyone. During that time, Ganguly was axed from the squad and sacked from the captaincy on request of Chappell.

Sourav Ganguly

After almost a decade, Ganguly opted to talk about this sensitive topic in a book named ‘Eleven Gods And A Billion Indians’, written by cricket historian Boria Majumdar.

Ganguly revealed that Chappell tried to mark a full stop over his career.

Also Read: Imran Khan inspired Dada to overcome from Chappell saga

“Greg came to me one evening and showed me a team he had picked for the Test match. Some key players were not in his playing XI and I was a little taken aback at what he was trying to do,” Ganguly said recollecting about the turn of events in the build-up to the first Test against Zimbabwe in Bulawayo in September 2005.

At a time when Chappell assumed charge as head coach in July 2005, Ganguly was serving a six-match ban imposed on him in March 2005 for slow over rate as Rahul Dravid was interim captain and it was for the Zimbabwe tour in September 2005 that Ganguly was once again given back the reins.

“Something from the very start of the tour was not right. I don’t know what had happened but something definitely had gone amiss. I think some people who Greg had become close to may have told him that with me around, he would never have his way in Indian cricket and that may have triggered a reaction,” he added.

“Whatever it may have been, he was not the same Chappell in Zimbabwe compared to the one who had helped me get ready for the Australian tour in December 2003.”

Dada admitted that he rejected the suggestions made by Chappell. “I rejected his suggestions and said to him clearly that the people he wanted out had done great things for Indian cricket while he had just been there for three months. He needed to spend more time to fully understand the situation before he started taking tough calls. He, it was clear to me, was in a hurry to make the team ‘Greg Chappell’s team’.”

Ganguly mentioned that the difference started to widen up with a tour game against Zimbabwe A, where he returned retired hurt after a half-century.

Recalling that incident, he quoted “Greg wasn’t around in the dressing room when I had retired hurt and it was only after a while that he came back to ask what had happened to me. I said I had a painful elbow and with a Test match coming up did not want to risk playing on. He was unrelenting.”

“To my surprise, he insisted I go out and bat and I was forced to tell him I wouldn’t because I was in good touch and did not want to jeopardize my chances of playing the Test match. I even said that the pain notwithstanding, I was sure to turn up for the Test.”

The chapter also mentions about the email leak in which Chappell talked at length about the match and how Ganguly was “spasmodic in his treatment habits”.

Also Read: Ganguly criticised Jo'burg pitch

In the first Test of that series, he scored a gritty 101 by playing for almost six hours. “Soon after I was back in the dressing room and was icing my elbow did Greg come and ask me if I had any pain. I said to him how does it matter for I had just scored a hundred. With or without pain, I had done a job for India,” Ganguly said.

Ganguly also mentioned how Chappell literally shouted at him one day as he was dosing off and termed him “lazy” that was leading to India’s suffering. Ganguly has also written about his ouster from the ODI series against Sri Lanka on grounds of his “injured elbow”.

“I called Greg to ask why I had not been picked and was told I had to first prove my fitness and only then could I make a comeback to the team. He said I had missed the Challenger Series and he was not clear if I was fully fit.

It was surprising because the Challenger had never been looked upon as a selection trial. I had scored more ODI runs than anyone in the team in the last few years and it was a shock to see my name not in the team. It was the first time I felt Greg was trying to end my career.”