What really happened between Sourav Ganguly and Greg Chappell before the Bulawao test?
Sources close to the Indian team tell me that Chappell told Sourav to take off his shirt ala 2002 Lords and pretend that Greg was actually Nagma. Sourav Ganguly asked Chappell if he was serious. When Greg told him that he was not, Ganguly felt rebuffed, got angry and threatened to resign.
For another version of the events, read this.
Okay accepted that this version of events probably did not happen but why should it be any more authentic than the version from Cricinfo? I dont know about you but when one of the most respectable sources of cricket writing carries a slanderous article based on unauthenticated “sources close to the team” collected by “Cricinfo staff” , I find it somewhat against journalistic ethics of objectivity and balancedness.
Read this article in the context of other Ganguly-bashing articles in Cricinfo (an example here) and a pattern of consistent editorial bias emerges.
In a previous post, I had taken issue with one Kanika Gehlaut for using her offices as a correspondent for a major daily to pen an extremely biased article about so-called “chick bloggers” where her personal contempt for the aforementioned community came to the fore in a particularly dramatic manner. One of the points I made was that while such an article would have been kosher if Ms Gehlaut had put it up on her personal blog (which is after all her personal space), she had no business in using the newspaper (and the newspaper had no business in carrying this piece) to carry out her personal battle of jealousy-induced attrition.
I perceive something similar here. Its quite evident that the Cricinfo journos do not “like” Dada. And the reason for that maybe because that Sourav Ganguly does not give non-Calcutta journalists “quotable quotes”. He is accused of having a coterie of favored journalists who spin his failures and attack VVS Laxman. When Souravda was stepping out of the crease and lofting bowlers for sixes, the aggrieved cricket-writers had to grin and bear it but now that Dada is on the way out, they have decided to strike back. When the man is down.
Firstly, I do not believe there is anything wrong in anyone having a select group to which a person is more open than to others. Ganguly comes to press conferences and discharges his media duties as a captain. Whom he then gives “better quotes” to in his hotel room is his sole prerogative and journos who think that is unfair are just pissed off at not being part of the group. And as to the matter of attacking VVS Laxman—-I have never seen the Anandabazar group doing it any more or less than other publications.
On the topic of VVS Laxman. After scoring 140 against the same soft attack as Dada, he darkly hints at “negative vibes” inside the team. Noone accuses him of ruining team spirit and casting aspersions, Cricinfo does not tell us (from their inside sources) who the negative vibe-giver is and his braggadocio after scoring runs against the weakest bowling attack in the world is not lampooned. And even after this, a select group of newspapers is accused of going after Laxman when Ganguly underperforms. Hmmmm.
Again the material currently on Cricinfo would have been fine if it has been on someone’s personal blog. But coming from an institution that is known for the highest standards of cricket journalism, it is shocking. Once the source is anonymous, anything can be written without the onus of accountability—–and that too in a piece where the author’s name is withheld. But people being people are going to accept this one-sided version of the story since the written word is the truth. Or so we perceive.
My personal opinion on the whole fracas. Unless he makes a real turn-around, Ganguly has come to the end of the road. In a way, it would have been better had be scored a duck against Zimbabwe—-at least his fans could argue that he was still out of form. But it is now proved beyond doubt—-Ganguly is not out of form—-against weaker opposition (Zimbabwe, county cricket) he is getting runs but the moment the standard of competition goes up a notch, he is all at sea.
But the decision to say finis to Ganguly’s career is not Chappell’s. I fail to see how having such a potentially divisive argument on the eve of a Test match served team spirit—–it reflects poorly on Chappell’s ability as a coach that instead of providing confidence (even if false) to a proven performer just before a game begins, he tries to run down a man who is down and out.
Methinks that it would be poetic justice for Gangs to retire now—-which would leave him, like Azhar, with a century in his first and last Test.
An achievment he would also share with —yes you guessed it— Greg Chappell.