Greg Chappell turns 69: Looking back at his controversial stint in the Indian dressing room

first_imgHappy Birthday Greg Chappell.The former Australia captain is celebrating his 69th birthday. Chappell, who played 87 Tests scoring 7110 runs at 53.86, coached India for two years from 2005-2007, a stint which was marred by controversies involving some of the biggest names in Indian cricket.The Virat Kohli-Anil Kumble spat was not the first time coach and captain of the Indian team were at loggerheads. The fight between Sourav Ganguly and Chappell was the first such incident before the rift between Kumble and Kohli emerged.There was a big friction in 2005 when Australia great Chappell was appointed Team India coach after John Wright did not extend his contract. Chappell had a tumultuous two-year tenure which ended in 2007.Chappell pipped the likes of Dav Whatmore, Mohinder Amarnath, Graham Ford, Desmond Haynes, Tom Moody and John Emburey in a highly publicised selection process.Happy birthday to Aussie cricket legend Greg Chappell! To celebrate, sit back and enjoy a classic hundred.via @OptusSport (@CricketAus) August 7, 2017It all began during India’s tour of Zimbabwe when out-of-form Ganguly was asked to step down as Team India captain by Chappell to focus on his batting. Before the first Test, Chappell stated that if left to him, he would pick both Yuvraj Singh and Mohammad Kaif ahead of Ganguly in the laying XI for the first Test. Irked by this, Ganguly decided to pack his bags and leave the tour. The team director Amitabh Chowdhary, along with Chappell and Dravid, insisted that he continue to play, as the captain leaving the team in the middle of the tour would be disastrous.advertisementChappell sent an email to BCCI, criticising Ganguly for being “mentally and physically unfit” to lead the team. He also stated that Ganguly’s “negative attitude” would hamper India’s development as a unit for the 2007 World Cup. The Aussie coach also accused Ganguly of faking an injury. Several members of the Indian team backed Ganguly during this time and were unhappy with the way the matters were handled by Chappell.However, Ganguly continued to be in and out of the team with Chappell favouring youth before experience. Chappell had alleged that he was a victim of a “racist attack” at the Bhubaneshwar Airport in January 2007.In his autobiography, ‘Playing It My Way’, Sachin Tendulkar criticised Chappell, calling him a “ringmaster”. Several other players like Zaheer Khan, Harbhajan Singh and Laxman also criticised the Aussie. While Zaheer called Chappell a “control freak”, Laxman said Chappell took Indian cricket “backwards”.KOHLI-KUMBLE RIFTKumble was appointed by the BCCI’s Cricket Advisory Committee (CAC) comprising Sourav Ganguly, Sachin Tendulkar and VVS Laxman in June 2016. He was given a one-year contract last June before India’s tour of the West Indies and it expired at the conclusion of the ICC Champions Trophy which Pakistan won after beating India.Kumble achieved great success in his tenure despite little previous first-class coaching experience. India’s highest wicket-taker led the team to the top of the Test rankings, after series wins over West Indies, New Zealand, England, Bangladesh and Australia.India won 12 of 17 Tests and lost only one. They won eight of 13 ODIs, and had a shot at defending the Champions Trophy crown.With Kumble gone, there would be an inevitable tendency to compare the way Chappell left, having antagonised the stars of the team. But there is a massive difference: Chappell had infuriated the entire country and had little support from the cricket fraternity while Kumble stepped down with his honour intact.When Kumble joined as coach, many believed that his partnership with captain Kohli would take India to greater heights in coming years. Though the results were clearly visible as India recorded five Test series wins, two ODIs and a T20 International series triumphs. The only failure was India’s 1-0 defeat to West Indies in a two-match T20 series last year.However, captain and the team were not happy with Kumble’s style of coaching and the reports of rift between the duo emerged. Soon, BCCI advertised for the post of head coach but Kumble was in advantage of getting a contract extension.Kohli termed the reports of rift as rumours in a press conference ahead of India’s opening Champions Trophy game against Pakistan.The majority of players were in favour of Kumble being removed as most did not get along with him or his style of coaching. It was also learnt that following India’s defeat in the final, Kumble screamed at the players for about 30 minutes which did not do down well with the players in the dressing room.advertisementlast_img

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *