IT WAS manic Monday for Indian cricket. MPs continued to demand Greg Chappell’s sacking, vandals damaged Mohammad Kaif’s house in Allahabad and a fractured finger ruled Rahul Dravid out of the One-Day series in South Africa. Virender Sehwag, himself returning from a finger injury, will be captain. Dravid, however, is expected to return for the Tests.
Back home, the drums beat for Chappell’s head. In New Delhi, Lok Sabha speaker Somnath Chatterjee, some union ministers and some Members of Parliament (MPs) reacted sharply to his comment about parliamentarians after the Cape Town defeat.
On Sunday, Chappell had said: “The MPs are entitled to make comments. That is what they are paid to do in parliament.” Chatterjee did not name Chappell but told reporters, “Let nobody dictate to us”. Railway Minister Lalu Prasad Yadav said Chappell’s remarks were regrettable and “the purpose of bringing him as coach (had) not been served”.
Minister for Women and Child Development Renuka Choudhary said: “If MPs want, a privilege motion can be moved against Chappell.”
Agriculture Minister and cricket board chief Sharad Pawar, however, blamed TV channels for fanning a controversy that he said did not exist. “The team sometimes performs very well,” he said. “Sometimes it loses. This is a game and one should not give disproportionate importance to it.”