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.”
What he said:
“‘ok, Anil is the only guy and let’s give it to him’.”
Anil Kumble tells a tale of his ascendancy to the most exalted position in Indian cricket—the captaincy of the national side.
“I became captain after representing India for 17 years, so, probably, I became captain by default… Because nobody else wanted it..
Rahul Dravid had just given up the captaincy and at that time, it was probably too early for (Mahendra Singh) Dhoni to step in as the Test captain… Sachin (Tendulkar) also did not want it… So they looked around and said ‘ok, Anil is the only guy and let’s give it to him’.”
What he really meant:
“I was the only one in the Fab Five (Sachin, Saurav, Laxman, Kumble and Dravid) willing to take up the onus of leading the country. I got it not because they felt I was the most deserving candidate but because they felt they could not risk putting Dhoni in the hot seat for a tour of Australia right then. It was way too early and he could have fizzled out given the additional pressure. At least, that was the opinion of the then bigwigs (selection committee).”
What he definitely didn’t:
“I wanted it, though, oh , how I wanted it. And I made it mine and how. Success—thy name is desire.”
The late Major Dhyan Chand is in the news once more this time of year. And again it is connected with speculation that he might be one of the recipients of the Bharat Ratna.
When there was a debate about whether sports persons should be awarded the Bharat Ratna , and if so , who first, yours truly along with many others felt that arguably the world’s greatest hockey player was preeminent among all current and past Indian sports persons.
But the Indian government played to the gallery and awarded the country’s most prestigious award to Sachin Tendulkar on the eve of his retirement from the game.
This is not to deny Mr. Sachin Tendulkar his spot in the sun. God knows, he did not need another award. He is the most beloved of all sports stars on the Indian firmament. But surely Dhyan Chand and his descendants were done a disservice.
Sachin is in the news too; this time for his leave of absence from the Upper House of Parliament. ‘Aap la Sachin’ is not the dedicated parliamentarian—neither posting any questions in the house nor spending his quota of allocated funds for his constituents’ betterment. And now, he has decided to go AWL (Absent With Leave) citing personal and professional commitments.
It does make one wonder if Tendulkar considered the Rajya Sabha selection as just yet another award and not a call to service—a thought echoed by Pradeep Magazine in his column for the Hindustan Times.
The man cannot be solely blamed. Politics is a different kettle of fish—a fact that Amitabh Bachchan can attest to.
Football player Neymar (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Sachin Tendulkar (Photo credit: ali_pk)
Maria Sharapova (Photo credit: D. Piris)
Will it be an all South American final or an all European one?
Or is it to be a fifty-fifty split? Only the soccer gods know for sure.
Neymar’s horrendous ouster from the World Cup—kneed from behind by his Colombian opponent Juan Camilo Zúñiga—left a sour taste in the mouth.
Is this the end of Brazil’s World Cup?
Does it really matter? Did Sharapova need to know who the demi-god of India cricket is to win her five slams?
For that matter, does Tendulkar need to be aware of tennis heroes and heroines to score on the cricket field?
Or do you and I need to know who the President of India is to do our jobs? Not unless your job needs you to know this trivia. But I digress.
Do you think Tendulkar cares that the ruling diva of women’s tennis does not recognise him or his name or his lauded achievements? He will probably breathe a sigh of relief that there’s one less bothersome fan in the world.
Is Sharapova to blame for her ignorance? Does it not have to do with the insular sports coverage of Western media specifically in Russia and the US? But why blame these states? How many Test-playing countries are there? Barely a handful.
Till next week. Adios, for now.