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Ian Chappell: What he said, really meant and definitely didn’t

Ian Chappell can walk, chew gum, gorge on spicy dishes and dispatch spin bowlers with appropriate disdain.

What he said:

“If you can walk and chew gum at the same time, then you can eat spicy food and also play spin bowling. The trick is to acquire a taste for the former and be taught the latter correctly at a young age.”

Former Australia skipper Ian Chappell is not convinced by Justin Langer’s specious explanation that playing spin is like eating chilli. One has to develop an appetite for it at an impressionable age to relish it.

Chappell writes:

“I acquired a taste for spicy food at 19 but learned to play spin bowling from about eight. I retain my enjoyment of spicy food to this day and those lessons I was taught as a youngster stood me in good stead as my career progressed, culminating in a few months at finishing school – a tour of India.

To me, it is at a young age that the real problem lies with modern Australian batsmen, and it is here that the roots of their disconnect with playing good spin bowling lie: the coaches overlook the correct footwork fundamentals.

The first things I was told about playing spin bowling were among the most important:

1) Don’t worry about the wicketkeeper when you leave your crease, because if you do it means you are thinking about missing the ball.

2) You might as well be stumped by three yards rather than three inches.

To make a real difference to a spin bowler’s length you have to advance a decent distance, and coming out of your crease only a little generally improves the delivery.”

He added:

“Playing spin bowling well is a state of mind. To succeed, a batsman has to be decisive, look to dominate, have a plan and not fear the turning delivery. Once I learned on the 1969 tour of India that because of the slower nature of the pitches you had a fraction more time than you first thought, and that when the ball turned a long way it provided opportunities for the batsman as well as the bowler, I never again worried about prodigious spin. I was often dismissed but I never again feared the turning ball; I looked upon it as a challenge to be enjoyed.”

What he really meant:

“Eating spicy food requires mouth-work and ability to roll one’s tongue. Playing spin bowling requires footwork and a sharp eye. You can do both because they exercise different body parts. Now, did you get my analogy?”

What he definitely didn’t:

“Spicy chewing gum, anyone?”


I have been an IT professional with over 12 years professional experience. I'm an B.Sc. in Statistics, M.Sc in Computer Science (University of Mumbai) and an MBA from the Cyprus International Institute of Management. I have completed levels I and II of the CFA course. Blogging is a part-time vocation. I am also the author of four books, Those Glory Days: Cricket World Cup 2011, IPL Vignettes, Poems: An Anthology, and It's a Petting Sport---all available on Amazon Worldwide.


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