Why Greg Chappell had mistreated Sourav Ganguly?
Well, Greg Chappell is a former Australian captain, who was the head coach of the Indian cricket team from 2005–2007, where it created loads of chaos and controversies within the players in the team including Gangualy at that point of time. When the Indians visited Australia for the test and one-day series in 2003/04, Chappell had interacted with him in terms with dealing with the playing conditions over there which helped him to score a valuable 144 against the Australians in the first test of the test series, which helped them to win a test match in Adalaide after a while and then, the rest was history.
Initially, the problems for Ganguly started when he was banned for six matches due to the slow over-rate when Pakistan was touring India for the three test matches and six one-day matches. Due to this, his captaincy was snatched away when Chappell started his tenure as the coach when India toured Sri Lanka for the triangular ODI series with West Indies and Sri Lanka. However, his suspension was reduced to four matches as he was back for that series, but he was not captain which was a big shock for all of us. When I first heard this, I was thoroughly confused on what was going on and why Ganguly was not the captain, which he was very successful for the longest time. I feel Chappell should have been considerate who should have been the captain of the team instead of making decisions for his own benefits. At the same time, if Ganguly was the captain, then he could have stabilized the backbone of Indian cricket for a few more years.
During India’s tour of Zimbabwe in 2005, there were reports of things not going well between coach Chappell and Sourav Ganguly since he was not eligible to be the captain of the team anymore and was being forced to resign from the captaincy. Amidst with the chain of events, an email was leaked from the BCCI (Board of control for Cricket) where Chappell mentioned Gangualy is mentally and physically unfit for the team. I completely disagree with these statements because Ganguly was still mentally and physically fit to play for India and through the help of the statistics he possesses, he was one of the finest cricketers of all time and it was immature of the coach to underestimate a player like him who was going through a tough time. In this day and age of the 21st century, we do not have to encounter or see what happened with Ganguly where he did not receive the respect he deserved in the world of cricket and if something like this happens again, then Indian cricket can be in big trouble in the future.
Unfortunately, the tension between Ganguly and the coach continued when India toured Pakistan for the three test matches and five one-day matches in the early half of 2006. Prior to the start of the first test match in Lahore, there was a heated argument which took place between him and coach Chappell regarding his place in the team, but he got the opportunity to play in the match since Gautam Gambhir was dropped from the team and Rahul Dravid was forced to open the batting with Virender Sehwag. However, that match ended in a high scoring draw where both teams had huge totals of 679 and 410 respectively, which did not allow Ganguly to bat in the match thanks to the big partnership between Sehwag and Dravid of 410. Sadly, he was dropped for the second test in Faisalabad, but he was back for the third test in Karachi where he scored 34 and 37 respectively, where India lost that test match by a huge margin which made them lose the test series by 1–0.
After the debacle in the Pakistan series, he was dropped for the large extent of 2006. Eventually, he worked very hard on his fitness and his cricket where he scored loads of runs in the domestic cricket which helped his team West Bengal won the Ranji Trophy that year. Nevertheless, he appeared in the Challenger trophy in Chennai in the same year where he tried to prove his point to make a comeback for team India, where he played few matches against his fellow players of team India in the tournament. He scored runs which was substantial for him to make a return to the team someday. With this, I was highly impressed by his hard work, dedication and determination to play again for India, despite what happened with him and the coach in the period of the 18 months which made him leave the team at that point of time.
With all his hard work, dedication and determination for his cricket, he made the comeback during the test series against South Africa by the end of 2006. During that test series, he scored successive half-centuries which helped him to make a comeback in the ODI format against West Indies and Sri Lanka in India in the early half of 2007. During the ODI series with these two countries, his batting form was the treat to watch for fans like ourselves where we can look forward to win the World Cup in the Caribbean in 2007. With this, it taught us to never give up on what you want to accomplish in life and if you work hard on what you plan to do, you will receive rewards on the basis of work you do anywhere in life. At the same time, we shall never be callous and complacent in life which might lead us to troubles we might face in the real world.
India’s performance in the World Cup 2007 was one of the worst performances they made in the history of World Cups. Unfortunately, they lost matches against Bangladesh and Sri Lanka, which was the primary reason towards their performance in the World Cup. Adding more insult to injury, the personal battle between Sourav Ganguly, Rahul Dravid and Greg Chappell made matters worse for team India. If they did not have heated arguments about the team and made better choices, then India could have won the World Cup after 1983. Therefore, Chappell resigned as the head coach few days after when team India returned back home after their dismal World Cup performance.
After the World Cup fiasco, Ganguly continued his batting form by scoring 1,106 runs with an average of 61.44 with three centuries and four fifties in test matches. During the one-day matches in 2007, he scored 1240 runs with an average of 44.28 where he had completed 11,000 runs in the one-day series against England that year. As far this was concerned, I was extremely proud of how he moved on from what happened in the past and carried on scoring runs for India, which was quite phenomenal. In fact, it helps us to indicate that you need to move on from what happened with your past and move on to what you love to do, which may not be acceptable to the public. Similarly, Ganguly did a great job in moving on from what happened in the Carri bean and focused on his cricket until he retired in 2008. Hats off to his maturity and we hope cricketers can overcome their personal challenges and move on in life by focusing on what they love, enjoying the success of playing international cricket for their country.
According to Chappell, he was the victim of a racist attack when a fan attacked him behind his ear at the Bhubaneshwar airport in January 2007. At the same time, he had accused the BCCI for not taking any action on this matter. I was completely confused by his allegations since nothing made sense to my understanding. I mean, how come attacking someone behind their ear was considered as racist attack? If someone had made comments on the color of his skin, then it would have been a different case altogether. I felt Chappell overreacted in this matter and he should have thought twice or thrice before making serious allegations on BCCI by not taking any actions on this issue. Nevertheless, it was foolish of him by blowing things out of proportion for no reason and he could have apologized to the public on this back then.
Many senior cricketers like Sachin Tendulkar, Zaheer Khan, Harbhajan Singh and VVS Laxman had accused Chappell of being the ‘ringmaster’ and ‘control freak’ who ruled the dynamics of the Indian Cricket team like a king when he was the coach at that point of time. I completely support their views because the atmosphere and the environment in the dressing room was not good, which lead to loads of conflict between the players and the coach over there. In addition, it also led to the exclusion of Ganguly during his coaching stint, which made matters worse for the selectors, players and the public, who followed the sport of cricket in the mid-2000s. Honestly, I believe it was not fair from what the cricket fraternity had to encounter from this episode and let’s hope to not hear any controversies like this, which might have consequences to any bad decision we might take which might not go well with the cricket followers in the future.
Lastly, I think Greg Chappell was one of the most arrogant coaches I have seen in the history of Indian Cricket. He made decisions in terms of selections for the players in the team for his own benefits which none of us appreciated it when we first came to know about this. He did a terrible job by misbehaving towards Ganguly by dropping him from the Indian team for almost a year, which was ridiculous for an extent which led the team to get out of the World Cup in 2007 by his poor decisions. Perhaps, he should not have accepted the job of coach for India in the first place since his thoughts did not match with the potential of a cricket team and he did not meet the expectations we as the fans had in our minds for him when he started coaching the team. In that case, whenever a cricket board is choosing a coach for their team, they should do a background check on them before giving a license to coach the team which does not affect any players mentally and physically while playing any matches.
In the end, I feel extremely bad for what happened to Ganguly and we are happy to see Chappell not coaching any team anymore. I also hope no cricketer shall go through any mistreatment from someone in their team and would be allowed to enjoy the spirit of the game for an eternity.