The speculation over the future of Greg Chappell and some senior Indian cricketers has reached a crescendo.
Unsourced leaks made to the media on Monday indicated that the coach had named several players, including Sachin Tendulkar and Sourav Ganguly, as disruptive influences in a report to the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI).
Chappell, however, told HT from Mumbai that everything doing the rounds was pure speculation. “I have not spoken to anyone in the BCCI about any player or players,” he said. “I have not submitted my report to anyone and I will not be doing it till Friday.”
While it is unclear if the report will actually name any individual, it is likely to indict a group of seniors for having undue influence within the team. There are apparently issues over player “discipline”, fitness and groupism.
If Chappell does take names, the cricketers under scrutiny could well make an unusual request of the BCCI: that they be allowed to present their side of the story.
“We will wait and see what the report says,” a senior player told HT. “If accusations are made, we will ask that we be allowed representation, legal if required, for this has gone on long enough.”
Another Indian cricketer said the players were “completely disgusted” and “disillusioned” with what had been happening. “We are of course scared and insecure — not because of the juniors, but because of these leaks to the media. Everyone knows who is behind them and there is an atmosphere of fear within the team. How are we expected to concentrate on the game?” A third player said: “Fights and arguments (between players) happen in every team and are sorted out. Does everything in the dressing room have to become a public issue?”
Things should get a little clearer on Friday, when the BCCI’s working committee meets to discuss several thorny issues and decide on whether Chappell stays as India coach.