Former India captain Sourav Ganguly has, once again, opened up about the time he was dropped from the Indian team in 2005, calling the infamous phase the “the biggest setback” of his career and an “absolute injustice”.
Ganguly, widely regarded as one of India’s most influential captains, was dropped from the one-day team, and later, the Test team in 2005, and was replaced by Rahul Dravid as skipper. His controversial spat with newly-appointed coach Greg Chappell was widely publicised by media, especially after Chappell’s email to BCCI, containing a scathing assessment of Ganguly, was leaked.
“I know you can’t get justice all the time,” Ganguly told Bengali daily Sangbad Pratidin, recalling the tumultuous time, “but even then that treatment could have been avoided. I was the captain of the team which [we] had just won in Zimbabwe and I get sacked after returning home?
“I dreamt of winning the 2007 World Cup for India. We had lost in the final the previous time. I had reasons to dream too. The team had played so well under me for the last five years whether it was home or away. Then you suddenly drop me? First, you say I’m not in the ODI side, then you drop me from the Test team too.”
Ganguly made a successful comeback to the side the following year, enjoying a prolific run in Tests where he averaged 44.28 between 2006 and 2008, but maintained that the situation could have been “sorted out with dialogue”.
“I don’t want to blame Greg Chappell alone. There is no doubt about the fact that he was the one who started it. He suddenly sends an email against me to the board which gets leaked too. Does something like this happen? A cricket team is like a family.
“There can be differences of opinion, misunderstandings in the family but that should be sorted out with dialogue. You are the coach, if you believed that I should play in a certain manner then come and tell me. When I returned as a player he had specified the same things then why not earlier?”
Despite his rather public fallout with the coach, Ganguly said that he did not blame Chappell alone, alleging that “everyone was involved” in a scheme to remove him from the team.
“The others are not innocent either,” he said. “A foreign coach who doesn’t have any say in the selection cannot drop an Indian captain. I had understood that this is not possible without the support of the entire system. Everyone was involved in the scheme to drop me. But I didn’t crumble under pressure. I didn’t lose confidence in me.”