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End of Greg

Perhaps resigned to his fate, the Australian great tells the BCCI that he does not seek an extension, bringing his controversial tenure to an end, writes G Krishnan.

cricket Updated: Apr 05, 2007, 02:50 IST
G Krishnan
G Krishnan

Moments after Greg Chappell dashed off an email to the top brass of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), hordes of media personnel descended on the luxury hotel in south Mumbai where he has been staying after the team's return from the Caribbean.

The idea was to get some quotes. It was always going to be a difficult proposition because only those who knew the Australian personally — and whom he also knew personally — were going to get close access to the man who has been in news for all the wrong reasons after India's disastrous performance in the World Cup.

The reporters were let inside, which in itself was an accomplishment — the hotel had barred the entry of the media because of 'security reasons' right from the night Chappell and his support staff arrived from the West Indies last Wednesday. However, they were instructed to not try to reach the coach through the in-house phones.

Chappell was appointed John Wright's successor in May 2005, and the contract was to run till April 30 —which meant that he was going to be with the Indian team until the end of the World Cup.

Since India's campaign came to an unexpected end a month before his tenure was to get over, Chappell's mail on Wednesday to not seek an extension to his contract has been misconstrued as resignation.

BCCI Chief Administrative Officer Ratnakar Shetty rightly put the issue in perspective when he said that it was not really a resignation as Chappell's contract has ended.

Chappell spent the evening assiduously avoiding the media and made a backdoor exit into the hustle and bustle of a sultry Mumbai evening, perhaps opting for a quiet dinner.

Chappell's mode of exit was in great variance with the fanfare with which he took charge of the team. He simply prepared a statement and sent it to the BCCI; soon after taking over the charge, he had held a press conference to announce his intentions on June 16, 2005, in Bangalore's Chinnaswamy Stadium, and declared a 'commitment to excellence'. But now, he was definitely not meeting the media to say more beyond his 339-word statement.

This was not the first time that Chappell issued a statement to the press and said no more on the subject.

In Colombo last August, Chappell prepared a statement to clear the air about rumours surrounding his landing a coaching job with the Australian team once John Buchanan's term came to an end after the World Cup. He then read a prepared statement to the media, refusing to elaborate.

BCCI secretary Niranjan Shah said that Chappell's mail will be discussed on Friday, the same day when his report on the World Cup debacle — along with the reports of Rahul Dravid, chairman of selectors Dilip Vengsarkar and tour manager Sanjay Jagdale — will be discussed.

Meanwhile, the waiting media at the hotel caught a glimpse of Chappell taking the elevator to his room. It was after an hour's meaningless wait that the journalists made their way out, after being politely told by the hotel staff that they were causing was a hindrance to the other guests, even as the pianist took his position to entertain them.

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