Gavaskar absolutely right in blaming Chappell
by Partab Ramchand

Player:SM Gavaskar, GS Chappell, RS Dravid, JG Wright, V Sehwag, SR Tendulkar, IK Pathan
Event:ICC World Cup 2006/07

DateLine: 24th April 2007


As one who has held similar views all along I was extremely pleased to read Sunil Gavaskar’s recent comments on Greg Chappell. The former Indian captain has squarely blamed him for the World Cup debacle and the recent fall in standards. I myself have been crying myself hoarse for almost a year writing repeatedly in my columns about the damage that Chappell’s methods have caused to Indian cricket and how his dictatorial attitude has left a sense of insecurity among the players who consequently have not been able to perform up to potential. With virtually the same team the combination of John Wright and Sourav Ganguly were able to show a much healthier balance sheet over the 4-1/2 years they were in charge while the duo of Chappell and Rahul Dravid has presided over a series of setbacks culminating in the biggest disaster of them all – the early exit from the World Cup.


The post mortems done by so called experts said that the reverse was due to various factors and they needlessly went into a deep analysis when there was no need to. It was just a result of failure of the leadership and while Chappell has to take a major share of the blame, Dravid is not entirely blameless. The less assertive Mr Nice Guy allowed Chappell to take command when as captain he should have shown that he was the boss and the buck stopped with him. And anyway I cannot fathom foreign players finding various causes for India’s defeats ranging from faults that lie with the Indian domestic circuit to misadministration at the BCCI level. I hardly see Indian cricketers commenting adversely on the domestic structure prevalent in South Africa, West Indies or New Zealand. The point is that with the existing system Indian cricketers have produced positive results in the period 2000 – 2005. I shall point out only the more significant among these – a shared Test series in England in 2002, a shared Test series in Australia in 2003-04, a Test series victory for the first time in Pakistan in 2004, the NatWest Trophy triumph in England in 2002, sharing of the Champions Trophy with hosts Sri Lanka the same year, making the final of the 2003 World Cup in South Africa.


Credit should go to Wright and Ganguly for these results for they wielded the team into a strong unit through adroit handling. The batting was probably the most lustrous in the world and fully lived up to its lofty reputation with totals of 705 for seven (against Australia) and 675 for five (in Pakistan) being registered and Virender Sehwag becoming the first Indian to top the 300-run mark in Tests. In the last couple of years there has been a considerable fall in the playing standards of almost all the Indian players and this is reflected in the figures. Sehwag was touching 56 at his peak; his average now is below 50. The same faltering figures are seen against the names of even Sachin Tendulkar and Rahul Dravid. Harbhajan Singh who was averaging 27.7 with the ball now has an average approaching 30. Irfan Pathan who was the pace spearhead of the Indian team and emerging as the country’s long awaited all rounder is now out of the side because he has lost confidence – thanks to Chappell’s over experimentation. This is the point that Gavaskar has driven home while hitting out at Chappell. "Some of the most promising talent, as recognized by the ICC Cricket voting panel, has lost its way and nobody of any note has come through during this period. The batting, which should have flourished under the guidance of someone recognized as one of the game's best batsmen, has looked tentative and unsure and has lost the spark that made India's cricket team such a must-see for cricket lovers."


And this man who has worked havoc with the Indian team has been praised among others by BCCI chief Sharad Pawar who has gone so far as to suggest that he could stay associated with Indian cricket in an advisory capacity to the National Cricket Academy. Nothing could be more disastrous and Gavaskar has again hit the nail on the head by writing: "To give him another job and that too one which deals with the future of Indian cricket after the mess the present of Indian cricket has been landed into, makes one wonder if we will ever get out of the inferior complex syndrome."


Let’s hear Gavaskar one last time. "When Chappell took over as coach of the Indian team, Indian cricket was poised to take the big step forward. There was optimism all around and a palpable confidence that Indian cricket would be ready to challenge Australia for the title of the best team in the world. Instead, at the end of his tenure, Indian cricket is down in the dumps with a first-round exit in the World Cup and is fractured and divided as seldom before." The message is unambiguous. Chappell should not be associated with Indian cricket in any capacity anymore.

(Article: Copyright © 2007 CricketArchive)