Greg Chappell is ringmaster to Sachin, the Lion.
What he allegedly said:
“Together, we could control Indian cricket for years.”
Sachin Tendulkar dropped a bombshell in his autobiography, “Playing it my way” charging former coach Greg Chappell with playing politics and plotting to depose Rahul Dravid from Team India’s leadership in 2007.
Extracts from the maestro’s memoirs were released by his publishers, Hachette India, to the Press Trust of India on Monday.
“Just months before the World Cup, Chappell had come to see me at home, and to my dismay, suggested that I should take over the captaincy from Rahul Dravid. I was surprised to hear the coach not showing the slightest amount of respect for the captain, with cricket’s biggest tournament just months away.
He stayed for a couple of hours, trying to convince me before finally leaving.
“I suggested to the BCCI that the best option would be to keep Greg back in India and not send him with the team to the World Cup. That is not what happened, of course, and the 2007 campaign ended in disaster.”
On Chappell’s equation with the other senior pros:
“Chappell is on record as saying that he may have got the job be cause of Sourav but that did not mean he was going to do favours to Sourav for the rest of his life.
Frankly, Sourav is one of the best cricketers India has produced and he did not need favours from Chappell to be part of the team.
Chappell seemed intent on dropping all the older players and in the process damaged the harmony of the side. On one occasion, he asked VVS Laxman to consider opening the batting. Laxman politely turned him down, saying he had tried opening in the first half of his career because he was confused, but now he was settled in the middle order and Greg should consider him as a middle-order batsman.
Greg’s response stunned us all. He told Laxman he should be careful, be cause making a comeback at the age of thirty-two might not be easy.
In fact, I later found out that Greg had spoken to the BCCI about the need to remove the senior players, no doubt hoping to refresh the team.”
On Chappell’s love for the spotlight:
“I also remember that every time India won, Greg could be seen leading the team to the hotel or into the team bus, but every time India lost he would thrust the players in front. In general John and Gary always preferred to stay in the background, but Greg liked to be prominent in the media.”
Greg Chappell responded to Sachin’s allegations in a statement released to Cricket Australia.
“Whilst I don’t propose to get into a war of words, I can state quite clearly that during my time as Indian coach I never contemplated Sachin replacing Rahul Dravid as captain. I was therefore very surprised to read the claims made in the book.
During those years, I only ever visited Sachin’s home once, and that was with our physio and assistant coach during Sachin’s rehabilitation from injury, at least 12 months’ earlier than what was reported in the book. We enjoyed a pleasant afternoon together but the subject of captaincy was never raised.”
Rahul Dravid, in an interview to EspnCricinfo, said:
“I haven’t really read the excerpts of that book. Also I am not privy to any private conversation between two individuals. I have not heard about this before and I have no idea what happened and I would not want to make any comment.
It’s been a long time and it does not make much of a difference to me now.
Not looking forward towards reading this but yes anything that Sachin writes on batsmanship and things like what made him the best in the world. I am more interested in reading those parts.”
What Greg Chappell (allegedly) really meant:
“Allow me play kingmaker to the uncrowned king of Indian cricket.”
What he definitely didn’t:
“Cricket’s a team game and we should all work together to move Indian cricket forward.”