The email - analysis
So, here is the email from Greg Chappel to BCCI secretary, and my analysis, in bold letters, in various sections of it:
Due to comments made by Mr Sourav Ganguly during the press conference following his innings in the recently completed Test match in Bulawayo and the subsequent media speculation I would like to make my position clear on two points.
1. At no stage did I ask Mr Ganguly to step down from the captaincy of the Indian team and;
2. At no stage have I threatened to resign my position as Indian team coach.
Mr Ganguly came to me following the recently completed tri-series of one-day matches here in Zimbabwe and asked me to tell him honestly where he stood as a player in my view. I told him that I thought he was struggling as a player and that it was affecting his ability to lead the team effectively and that the pressure of captaincy was affecting his ability to play to his potential. I also told him that his state of mind was fragile and it showed in the way that he made decisions on and off the field in relation to the team, especially team selection.
So, you suggested that Ganguly is not doing justice to captaincy? The obvious conclusion is that you are suggesting him to step down. 'Asking'..no...suggesting..yes.
A number of times during the tri-series the tour selectors had chosen a team and announced it to the group only for Sourav to change his mind on the morning of the game and want to change the team.
What I would like to know is that is this a new behaviour in SG's captaincy or was this impulsive decision making present even in the better times? If so, then these have obviously given good results also.
On at least one occasion he did change the team and on the morning of the final I had to talk him out of making another last-minute change that I believe would have destroyed team morale and damaged the mental state of the individuals concerned.
Again, I ask, did he do these kind of changes before? If yes, then it has not destroyed team morale in the past, and you opinion is wrong.
I also told Sourav that his nervous state was affecting the team in other ways as he was prone to panic during pressure situations in games and that his nervous demeanour was putting undue pressure on the rest of the team.
This applies to any out-of-form batsman. And this would lead to the debate whether he deserves a place in the side based on his captaincy or not. There have been other instances of out of form captains, and still their team doing well. In fact there have been cases of this same team doing badly even when captain did well. So no way of proving one way or the other. And since you talk about morale of players so much, so lets hear from them how and what was affecting them. And also whether SG used to be 'calm' in the dressing room in earlier times.
His nervous pacing of the rooms during our batting in the final plus his desire to change the batting order during our innings in the final had also contributed to nervousness in the players waiting to go in to bat.
Yes, but again, is this a new behavior in SG, or was it there in more successful time also? And, lets hear from the players who were getting nervous. I seem to get an impression that you are speaking a lot on behalf of others. While your understanding may be right, it still is one person's opinion. And it cannot be taken for the final word, as long as it involves the thought process of others.
His reluctance to bat first in games I suggested was also giving wrong signals to the team and the opposition and his nervousness at the crease facing bowlers like Shane Bond from NZ was also affecting morale in the dressing room.
This is ridiculous! Are you saying that wrong signals were going to the 'team' because he was going against 'your' suggestion to bat first? Did the players say that they wanted to bat first? Again, a lot of assumption on their behalf.
And facing Shane Bond is a separate issue. Not to be mixed with batting first(unless you are implying that he was reluctant to bat first to avoid facing Bond, who would have vanished in the second innings?). His nervousness while facing Bond was due to the fact that he was/is out of form. There is nothing new here. If you are implying that an out of form batsman should not be the team captain, then please say so directly. And then there can be a discussion on this direct statement.
On the basis of this and other observations and comments from players in the squad about the unsettling effect Sourav was having on the group
More details on the observations, names and comments of the players who suggested SG having an unsettling effect?
I suggested to Sourav that he should consider stepping down from the captaincy at the end of the tour in the interests of the team and in his own best interests if he wanted to prolong his playing career. I told him of my own experiences toward the end of my career and cited other players such as Border, Taylor and Steve Waugh, all of whom struggled with batting form toward the end of their tenure as Australian captain.
This may be factually wrong(Waugh did not struggle with form, Taylor survived a slump similar to SG is going through) and anyway irrelevant to his problems.
We discussed other issues in relation to captaincy and the time and effort it took that was eating into his mental reserves and making it difficult to prepare properly for batting in games. He commented that he had enjoyed being free of those responsibilities in the time that he was in Sri Lanka following his ban from international cricket and that he would consider my suggestion.
I also raised the matter of selection for the first Test with Sourav and asked him where he thought he should bat. He said 'number 5'. I told him that he might like to consider opening in the Test as the middle order was going to be a tight battle with Kaif and Yuvraj demanding selection. Sourav asked me if I was serious. I said it was something to be considered, but it had to be his decision.
The following day Sourav batted in the match against Zimbabwe 'A' team in the game in Mutare. I am not sure of the exact timing of events because I was in the nets with other players when Sourav went in to bat, but the new ball had either just been taken or was imminent when I saw Sourav walking from the field holding his right arm.
So, you are suggesting that SG went away because of the new ball against an attack of the Zim local team? The same SG who insisted on opening the innings right since his return to the team in SL? Why, amongst all these experimentations, didn't we see one in which SG batted lower down the order? Would have suited him fine not to face Bond, Vaas etc, isn't that so?
I assumed he had been hit and made my way to the players' area where Sourav was receiving treatment from the team physiotherapist, John Gloster.
When I enquired as to what had happened Sourav said he had felt a click in his elbow as he played a ball through the leg side and that he thought he should have it investigated. Sourav had complained of pain to his elbow at various stages of the one-day series, but he had resisted having any comprehensive investigation done and, from my observation,
So, you do agree that he has been complaining of this problem many times earlier also? Then why did you, just above, try to link it with the new ball being taken?
had been spasmodic in his treatment habits, often not using ice-packs for the arm that had been prepared for him by John Gloster.
So you take on issue and make two complaints out of it! One about his feigning the injuring to avoid new ball against a club attack, and second that he is irregular in his treatment of the same injury?
I suggested, as had John Gloster, that we get some further tests done immediately. Sourav rejected these suggestions and said he would be 'fine'. When I queried what he meant by 'fine' he said he would be fit for the Test match. I then queried why then was it necessary to be off the field now. He said that he was just taking 'precautions'.
And, against that club attack in an irrelevant game, isn't it fine for a batsman to take precautions? And esp the one who has been on tour right from the beginning (unlike some others) and has played all the games?
Rather than make a scene with other players and officials in the vicinity I decided to leave the matter and observe what Sourav would do from that point on. After the loss of Kaif, Yuvraj and Karthik to the new ball, Sourav returned to the crease with the ball now around 20 overs old.
So, again, the insinuation that he avoided the new ball? I already have underlined why I feel he would not and could not have been doing this to avoid the new ball, but that's just my opinion. Just like its your opinion that he did avoid it. And both opinions are based on the same set of facts.
He struggled for runs against a modest attack and eventually threw his wicket away trying to hit one of the spinners over the leg side.
Yes, we all know he is struggling for runs, although not always struggling in general as a batsman (like in the first test, he struggled for runs, but wasn't troubled by the bowling)
The next day I enquired with a number of the players as to what they had thought of Sourav's retirement. The universal response was that it was 'just Sourav' as they recounted a list of times when Sourav had suffered from mystery injuries that usually disappeared as quickly as they had come.
A list of the players, and the incidents they sited about his faked 'retirement' would be needed.
This disturbed me because it confirmed for me that he was in a fragile state of mind and it was affecting the mental state of other members of the squad.
Again, his state of mind is probably well known, since he is a struggling batsman. But about the mental state of other members, I wouldn't assume too much. I would rather hear from them.
When we arrived in Bulawayo I decided I needed to ask Sourav if he had over-played the injury to avoid the danger period of the new ball as it had appeared to me and others within the touring party that he had protected himself at the expense of others. He denied the suggestion and asked why he would do that against such a modest attack. I said that he was the only one who could answer that question.
From Saurav's answer, and from your own understanding, it is quite obvious that you are implying that in your opinion he was lying on your face. And you answer to Saurav ('he was the only one who could answer that question') also openly told Saurav that you feel he is lying.
I was so concerned about the affect that Sourav's actions were having on the team that I decided I could not wait until selection meeting that evening to inform him that I had serious doubts about picking him for the first Test.
So, you did tell him that in your opinion, he did not deserve a place in the playing XI? And doesn't that mean that he cannot captain the side(unless you wanted him to be a non-playing captain?). So, doesn't this mean that you are effectively telling him to leave the team as a player and a captain? And your very first point at the start of the email was that 'at no point of time you asked SG to step down from Indian captaincy'? Sure you did not 'ask' him (because you don't have the powers to, so you can only 'suggest') but you made it quite clear that you wanted that to happen, isn't that so?
I explained that, in my view, I felt we had to pick Kaif and Yuvraj following their good form in the one-day series and that Sehwag, Gambhir, Laxman and Dravid had to play.
Again, effectively you were telling him that he did not deserve a place in the side and an obvious corollary is that he cannot be the captain? So, you did clearly suggest him stepping down? Again, clearly goes against your very first point in this email. Unless you are dealing in word-play on the use of 'ask' instead of 'suggest/opine' ???? Are you ???? Because we all know you cannot 'ask' him to step down. Did you make it clear to him that in your opinion he did not deserve a place in the side as a player and hence as a captain?
He said that his record was better than Kaif and Yuvraj and that they had not proved themselves in Test cricket. I countered with the argument that they had to be given a chance to prove themselves on a consistent basis or we would never know. I also said that their form demanded that they be selected now.
Agreed, they are in better form that SG. And this is your opinion that SG needs to be thrown out of the team. But that's for the selectors to decide. If they chose him as the captain, despite whatever you may have reported to them after the SL series, then it was obvious that they considered him as a part of the playing XI. Since the could not have thought that the situation would be so severe (and against an opposition like Zim) that their chose captain would have to be considered out of the playing XI?
Sourav asked me whether I thought he should be captain of the team. I said that I had serious doubts that he was in the right frame of mind to do it. He asked me if I thought he should step down. I said that it was not my decision to make, that only he could make that decision, but if he did make that decision he had to do it in the right manner or it would have even more detrimental effects than if he didn't stand down. I said that now was not the time to make the decision but that we should discuss it at the selection meeting to be held later in the day.
Ok, from you own comments in this email, it seems that you made it quite clear to SG that you don't consider him fit for the captaincy of the side. Sure, you didn't 'ask' him...so your very first point in the email is still 'correct'
Sourav then said that if I didn't want him to be captain that he would inform Rahul Dravid that was going to stand down. I reiterated that it was not my decision to make but he should give it due consideration under the circumstances but not to do it hastily.
Yes, it wasn't your decision to make. You could only give your opinion. And it was very clear what that opinion was. Even when SG acceded in public about this whole thing, he did say there were 'suggestions' for him to step down from captaincy. So, you didn't 'ask' him to step down. We all agree.
At that point Sourav went to Rahul and the two of them conferred briefly and then Sourav left the field and entered the dressing room. At that stage I joined the start of the training session.
A short time later Mr Chowdhary came on to the field and informed me that Sourav had told him that I did not want him as captain and that Sourav wanted to leave Zimbabwe immediately if he wasn't playing. I then joined Mr Chowdhary and Rahul Dravid in the dressing room where we agreed that this was not the outcome that any of us wanted and that the ramifications would not be in the best interests of the team.
We then spent some time with Sourav and eventually convinced him that he should stay on as captain for the two Tests and then consider his future. In my view it was not an ideal solution but it was better than the alternative of him leaving on a bad note.
So, what was the ideal solution? does it go against the first point in your email here?
I believe he has earned the right to leave in a fitting manner. We all agreed that this was a matter that should stay between us and should not, under any circumstances, be discussed with the media.
The matter remained quiet until the press conference after the game when a journalist asked Sourav if he had been asked to step down before the Test. Sourav replied that he had but he did not want to elaborate and make an issue of it. I was then called to the press conference where I was asked if I knew anything of Sourav being asked to step down before the game. I replied that a number of issues had been raised regarding selection but as they were selection matters I did not wish to make any further comment.
Apart from a brief interview on ESPN before which I emphasized that I did not wish to discuss the issue because it was a selection matter I have resisted all other media approaches on the matter.
Since then various reports have surfaced that I had threatened to resign. I do not know where that rumour has come from because I have spoken to no one in regard to this because I have no intention of resigning. I assume that some sections of the media, being starved of information, have made up their own stories.
At the completion of the Test match I was approached by VVS Laxman with a complaint that Sourav had approached him on the eve of the Test saying that I had told Sourav that I did not want Laxman in the team for Test matches. I denied that I had made such a remark to Sourav, or anybody else for that matter, as, on the contrary, I saw Laxman as an integral part of the team. He asked how Sourav could have said what he did. I said that the only way we could go to the bottom of the matter was to speak to Sourav and have him repeat the allegation in front of me.
I arranged for a meeting with the two of them that afternoon. The meeting took place just after 6pm in my room at the Rainbow Hotel in Bulawayo. I told Sourav that Laxman had come to me complaining that Sourav had made some comments to Laxman prior to the Test. I asked Sourav if he would care to repeat the comment in my presence. Sourav then rambled on about how I had told him that I did not see a place for Laxman in one-day cricket, something that I had discussed with Sourav and the selection panel and about which I had spoken to Laxman at the end of the Sri Lankan tour.
Sourav mentioned nothing about the alleged conversation regarding Laxman and Test cricket even when I pushed him on it later in the discussion. As we had to leave for a team function we ended the conversation without Sourav adequately explaining his comments to Laxman.
Sure, this is a serious issue and all three parties(SG, GC, VVS) need to be questioned on their understanding of this whole issue.
Again, this is not an isolated incident because I have had other players come to me regarding comments that Sourav had made to them that purports to be comments from me to Sourav about the particular player.
Name of the players, with details of the comments they have made, would be needed.
In each case the comments that Sourav has passed on to the individual are figments of Sourav's imagination. One can only assume that he does it to unnerve the individual who, in each case, has been a middle order batsman.
Again name of the player? His view need to be sought, and what exactly was he told by SG about GC? But anyway there is no way of finding out the truth here, since we don't really know what GC would have said about that player to SG.
Sourav has missed the point of my discussions with him on this matter. It has less to do with his form than it does with his attitude toward the team. Everything he does is designed to maximise his chance of success and is usually detrimental to someone else's chances.
Well, again, that's your views. And since its a direct stand-off between your views and his, so its better to look at facts rather than what you think.
Despite meeting with him in Mumbai after his appointment as captain and speaking with him about these matters and his reluctance to do the preparation and training that is expected of everyone else in the squad he continues to set a bad example.
Specific examples of his reluctance....verdict from others (RD, AK etc) and maybe Wright's words on this. Also need to know how did he behave during the 2001-2004 period? If his behaviour has been consistent then despite being below acceptability, this issue itself is not that serious in the current context.
Greg King's training reports continue to show Sourav as the person who does the least fitness and training work based on the criterion that has been developed by the support staff to monitor the work load of all the players.
We have also developed parameters of batting, bowling, fielding and captaincy that we believe embodies the 'Commitment to Excellence' theme that I espoused at my interview and Sourav falls well below the acceptable level in all areas. I will be pleased to present this documentation when I meet with the special committee in Mumbai later this month.
I can assure you sir that all my actions in this matter, and all others since my appointment, have been with the aim of improving the team performance toward developing a team that will represent India with distinctions in Test match and one-day cricket.
As I said to you during our meeting in Colombo, I have serious reservations about the attitude of some players and about Sourav and his ability to take this team to a new high, and none of the things he has done since his reappointment has caused me to change my view. In fact, it has only served to confirm that it is time for him to move on and let someone else build their team toward the 2007 World Cup.
All personal opinions here.
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.
This is a serious charge, need to know the names of the players he has favoured, and the ones left out. Need also to know what other seniors (RD, AK, SRT) think on this subject. Because if he has obviously been doing such favours, RD, SRT etc would have realised it and had discussed it with him. Specific examples needed of the 'shunting' of players you are referring to, and Saurav needs to be asked for the reasons for those shunting. Because, as you yourself would know, batting order and other such on-field activities are a captains prerogative. Even before SG joined the team in SL, we saw some shunting and experimentations in the batting order when RD and you were in-charge.
John Wright obviously allowed this to go on to the detriment of the team. I am not prepared to sit back and allow this to continue or we will get the same results we have been seeing for some time now.
It is time that all players were treated with fairness and equity and that good behaviours and attitudes are rewarded at the selection table rather than punished.
I can assure you of my very best intentions.
Greg Chappell MBE