India Sports
Chappell resigns to set off churning in crisis-hit Indian cricket
Apr 4, 2007 - 10:23:06 PM

Mumbai, April 4 - Indian cricket was in the throes of a major churning as Australian coach Greg Chappell suddenly quit Wednesday after remarks attributed to him against the 'mafia' of senior players led to a groundswell of criticism.

Chappell sent his resignation by e-mail to the Indian cricket board ahead of its World Cup post-mortem in Mumbai with both present and former Indian cricketers virtually ganging up against the Aussie who coached the team for 22 months during which he had highly publicised run-ins with the likes of Sourav Ganguly.

'Today, I informed the president of the BCCI - that I would not seek an extension to my contract to coach the Indian cricket team for family and personal reasons,' Chappell said in his statement.

Confirming the development, Indian board secretary Niranjan Shah said in a statement: 'Greg Chappell has today personally talked to the president of board, Mr. Sharad Pawar, and also in his letter he has informed the president that due to family and personal reasons he will not seek an extension to the existing contract with BCCI.'

The resignation comes two days ahead of his meeting with top BCCI officials and three days ahead of the crucial working committee of the board here.

Chappell's contract with the BCCI was up to April 30.

It also comes on the day Sachin Tendulkar, in a published interview, hit out at Chappell for questioning the commitment of senior players.

Though Chappell himself never spoke publicly after returning from the West Indies, media quoted 'sources close to Chappell' as saying that the senior players had acted like 'mafia' and were a bad influence on the juniors.

Chappell has neither confirmed nor denied the remarks although he admitted sending an email to a senior Indian journalist who criticised by name some of the Indian team members.

The board meeting, for which former India captains have also been invited, is scheduled to take stock of India's first round exit from the World Cup after losing two of the three matches in the West Indies.

During Chappell's stint, India played 62 one-day internationals, won 32, lost 27 and three matches ended in no result.

In Test matches, India did better under the former Australia captain. They played 18 matches, won seven, lost four and drew seven.

But the final nail was India's crucial defeat by Bangladesh in a group match of the World Cup that eventually proved decisive.

Chappell came under heavy criticism from the media and experts of the game, mainly former India captains.

Stung by all-round criticism, the BCCI called for three important meetings Friday and Saturday here.

On Friday, the BCCI office-bearers, including its president Pawar, will meet among themselves and then with former India captains to find ways to take Indian cricket forward.

Chappell, physiotherapist John Gloster, trainer Gregory King and bio mechanist Ian Frazer will also meet the top BCCI officials that day.

The next day, the BCCI working committee will meet to discuss the World Cup performance and decide whether the support staff's contracts would be renewed or a new set of appointments would be made.

Chappell's resignation is believed to have saved the BCCI from asking him to resign, as was widely expected.

Chappell, on his part, showed no bitterness in his resignation letter.

'Firstly, I would like to extend my thanks to the BCCI for allowing me the honour of coaching the Indian cricket team over the past 22 months. It is, and it remains, one of the most challenging coaching positions in world cricket,' he wrote.

'I am grateful to the players with whom I have worked in this time for the challenges that they presented me with and which I tried to meet in a professional, methodical and interesting way in the interests of the team and the individual.'

Chappell, who took over the reins of the team in May 2005, also thanked the media from which he faced the most criticism.

'To the media, my thanks also for constantly forcing me to question myself, my thinking and the way I went about my job of guiding the team through the many tests that we faced,' he said.

He also thanked the support staff with whom he worked. 'I would like to make special mention of my support staff without whom I would not have survived the rigours of the past 22 months. Ian Frazer and Greg King deserve special mention for their efforts as do John Gloster, S. Ramakrishnan - and Ramesh Mane -,' he said.

'I am particularly grateful for the wonderful support of my family, especially my wife Judy, who has enjoyed the experience as much as I.'

He also praised millions of Indian fans. 'The people of India deserve a special mention as they are the ones whose attention, enthusiasm and love and support drive the great game, and business, of cricket in this country, and around the world. I thank them all, especially those who have written to me and the thousands who have gone out of their way to come up to me with well wishes,' he averred.

'I am also grateful for the opportunity to extend my knowledge and awareness of this region and for the wonderful friends that I have made here. I look forward to continuing my contact with India in the coming years and I wish Indian cricket and all those involved with it much joy and success in the future.'

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