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'Indian cricket will be the loser'

Last updated on: September 26, 2005 15:26 IST

Former India Test batsman Ashok Malhotra feels the ongoing spat between Indian captain Sourav Ganguly and coach Greg Chappell will ultimately hurt Indian cricket.

"Ultimately, Indian cricket will be the loser," Malhotra told rediff.com

"If one of them goes now, the other will follow soon," he said.

"If Ganguly goes, then Chappell will be under pressure to deliver as the coach or if Chappell goes, then Ganguly will be under tremendous pressure to score runs. So both ways both are losers."

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"I have no doubts that whosoever survives will ultimately go out. And even if they work together, it will them take a long time to come to terms with each other," he added.

Chappell and Ganguly will present their views on the spat to the Board of Control for Cricket in India's review committee in Mumbai on Tuesday.

The committee comprises BCCI President Ranbir Singh Mahendra, former Board president Jagmohan Dalmiya and greats Sunil Gavaskar, S Venkataraghavan and Ravi Shastri.

Malhotra believes Chappell should have taken a cue from former India coach John Wright. The New Zealander was never involved in any major controversy during his five-year tenure with the Indian team.

"Look at the history of Indian cricket. Right from Bishan Singh Bedi, Madan Lal, Sandeep Patil, Kapil Dev and now Greg Chappell, either you bow to the players or you go out. We don't respect coaches in India," he said.

He also rebuffed Chappell's claim in the e-mail sent to the BCCI that Ganguly was creating a rift in the team.

"Ganguly may not be as hard working as some others, but he cannot create rifts in the team. He is the one who has built the team and led them to so much success. How can he create divisions?" asked Malhotra, who temporarily coached India during the tri-series in Bangladesh last April, when Wright returned to New Zealand following his father's death.

He also felt Chappell is trying to bring too many changes too fast.

"He must understand a team cannot change overnight. You need to give it time. A lot of cricket still has to be played between now and the 2007 World Cup," Malhotra said. "You cannot fill the team with youngsters who are good fielders and runners between wickets. You also need world class players who can score runs or take wickets."

He is also disappointed with off-spinner Harbhajan Singh, who on Sunday came out in Ganguly's support.

"Harbhajan should have kept quiet. Why did he need to open his mouth? It's good that the BCCI has stopped the players from making statements," added Malhotra, who played 7 Tests and 20 One-Day Internationals for India between 1982 and 1986.

He felt a major shake up could ultimately bring about a much-needed boost to Indian cricket after last year's disappointments.

"The way we have been playing after the Pakistan tour, we needed a major shake up, but Chappell has managed to bring about a violent shake up. If he survives this, we could have drastic changes ahead, which could ultimately benefit Indian cricket."

Harish Kotian