One of the highly controversial brawls between a cricket team coach and a team member happened in front of the media at the end of 2005. The newly appointed coach of the Indian cricket team, Greg Chappell, made media history by ruling against the captain of the team, Sourav Ganguly. What followed was the omission of the captain from the existing squad. Nearing the end of January 2006, Ganguly was also left out from the Test cricket squad. Fierce objections were raised from Kolkata, Ganguly’s home town, and also from the entire nation for that matter. >
The Current Situation
Greg Chappell was appointed as the coach of the Men in Blue in 2004-05. India played their first match with Chappell as their back bone in 2005 for the Indian Oil Cup against Sri Lanka. Rahul Dravid was the current captain for the team.
The Instigation of Disagreement
The Zimbabwe series saw Ganguly acquiring his slowest century ever, earning a hundred runs from more than 250 balls, against a team devoid of performing players. The media was involved for the first time after this series with Ganguly commenting in front of the media about the team management pressurizing him to resign as captain. Another headline hit the media about Chappell highly criticizing Ganguly in an e-mail written to the BCCI (Board of Control of Cricket in India). Chappell wrote in that e-mail about Ganguly not being capable enough to lead the team. The BCCI scheduled a board meeting after the team returned back to India. Harbhajan Singh publicly went against Chappell and accused him of having “double standards” and of infusing “fear and insecurity” into the team. He later apologized for his comments.
From Bad to Worse
Ganguly was omitted from the team squad when Sri Lanka came to tour India in October 2005 was also omitted for the coming ODI series in South Africa. Sparks had started to fly sky high amongst Indian cricket fans, especially in Calcutta, where the team’s official bus was attacked by the furious public and greeted with anti-Chappell banners. The angry fans did not even cheer for the Indian team as they played against South Africa for a 10-wicket win. Though not supported by Chappell, Kiran More, the BCCI Chairman of Selectors included Ganguly for the test series against Sri Lanka owing to his “All rounder” capabilities.
The Indian tour of Pakistan in January 2006 saw spectators witness an intense brawl between Chappell and Ganguly in the middle of the field and Ganguly was allowed to play for India on expense of Gautam Gambhir. Ganguly was subsequently dropped from the next 2 series against England, in March 2006, and against West Indies, in July 2006.
Noone knew why it happened, but the spat between Ganguly and Chappell is one of the most controversial brawls in Cricket history. The matter went further downhill as it was taken up in Lok Sabha also. Ganguly has his supporters and Chappell has his clarifications. Later on, the matter seemed to have dissolved by itself. Ganguly regained his appropriate place back in the team, both ODI team and test cricket team, nearing the end of 2006.