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Guess why Greg's grateful to Ganguly

Chappell said Ganguly came to him for batting tips some years ago and that's when the two became friends.

india Updated: Mar 01, 2006 14:19 IST
United News of India
United News of India

Team India coach Greg Chappell has conceded that there was no way he would have got the job without the backing of Sourav Ganguly.

"Certainly there is no way I would have got the job here without his influence," he told the Guardian.

"But we clashed because his needs as a struggling player and captain and those of the team were different."

Chappell said Ganguly came to him for batting tips some years ago and that's when the two became friends. But the appointment of the Aussie as the successor to John Wright spelled the end of that.

"I helped him with his batting then," Chappell recalled, "So maybe he thought I would be his mate and support him now. I am sure he thought he would be able to run me as he did John in the latter part of his time as coach."

Chappell once again confirmed that he did ask Ganguly to step down from captaincy but the advice was only aimed at helping him revive his career.

"In essence I told Sourav that if he wanted to save his career he should consider giving up the captaincy. He was just hanging in there. Modest innings were draining him. He had no energy to give to the team, which was helping neither him nor us," he said.

"It was in his own interest to give himself mind space to work on his batting so that it could be resurrected but he was not prepared to do that," he added.

The Aussie said he had no idea what captaincy meant for Ganguly and why he wanted to cling on to the post despite the fact that he was undergoing the worst phase of his career.

"What I didn't realise at that stage was how utterly important to his life and finances being captain was."

He said he had nothing against Ganguly and has moved on after the furore which saw his effigies being burnt by the Maharaja's fans and the media going after him for targeting India's most successful captain.

"I am not the hard-nosed control freak that I have been portrayed. I am thorough, a realist, a pragmatist and I'm honest. Much has been written and said, a lot of it misleading, but the controversy will carry on but I have learned if I can't be totally impervious to it then it is beyond my control," he said.

"I have to let it wash by and say people have their reasons for saying what they do and I can't be distracted by that and do what I believe in.

"At the end of my time, whenever that might be, the team and therefore I will be judged ultimately on the results we achieve, not whether I have been able to convince this or that member of the media that what we are doing is in the best interests of Indian cricket," Chappell said.

Chappell said he was well aware of the fact that being associated with Indian cricket meant constant scrutiny of the fans, who expect their team to win every time they go out to play.

"It is astounding, isn't it?" said Chappell.

"It is an unnerving experience to drive out of stadiums after we have won games or lost them and see the streets lined with people from all walks of life. We have played in the big metros of course but we have also played in some of the smaller cities and it is quite eye-opening to see how the average person responds to the Indian cricket team.

"When we arrive at airports, large crowds accrue. They want to see the high-profile players, they want to touch them, get a photograph of them," he added.

First Published: Mar 01, 2006 14:04 IST