Chappell–Ganguly Controversy - Test Retention

Test Retention

When the squad for the subsequent Test series against Sri Lanka was announced, Ganguly was included at the expense of paceman Zaheer Khan. At the time, BCCI chairman of selectors Kiran More justified the inclusion of Ganguly, as a "batting all rounder", despite Ganguly's Test bowling average being above 50. The announcement also resolved the captaincy issue, with Dravid named as captain, and Virender Sehwag as his deputy.

Prior to the first Test in Chennai, debate centred on whether batsman Yuvraj Singh, who had been named man of the series against South Africa, would replace Ganguly in the middle order. Ganguly was retained, in a rain affected match, but did not score highly. The Yuvraj Ganguly debate was taken from the equation for the second Test at Feroz Shah Kotla in Delhi, when Sehwag was hospitalised with illness, allowing both to play. Ganguly made 39 and 40 in the Test, while Yuvraj recovered from a first innings duck to score an unbeaten 75 in the second to set up a winning victory target. At the end of the Test, More announced that Ganguly had been dropped from the squad, with Mohammad Kaif replacing him. He justified the decision by stating that it would be inappropriate to leave an experienced player like Ganguly out of the team and on the bench, implying that Ganguly and not Yuvraj would have been dropped on the return of Sehwag. As it turned out, Dravid became ill and was forced to withdraw from the Third Test in Ahmedabad, and Kaif played after being selected with the intention of avoiding Ganguly's humiliation as a reserve batsman. Kaif failed to make a large contribution the Third Test, while Yuvraj scored another half century.

The decision to drop Ganguly resulted in widespread sympathy and praise for a man who had been previously reviled by the Indian cricket following, resulting in further street protests in Calcutta. This included organised protests by Bengali organisations, politicians, including the blockading of rail transport in Bengal. Ganguly's cause was taken up by federal parliamentarians in the Lok Sabha.

Despite being dropped from both ODI and Test teams, at the end of December 2006, Ganguly retained his A-grade BCCI contract, although Yuvraj and Kaif, who had replaced him in the Test team and were established members of the ODI team, remained on a B-grade contract.

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