Sunday, 2 September 2007

Dravid deals the final blow to Chappell!

Tension is a good thing within a team, but it needs to be creative, not destructive. John Wright had similar problems at the start but unlike Greg he was prepared to adapt. By the end he [Wright] was more Indian than the Indians...Rahul Dravid told Mike Atherton in Sunday Telegraph.

Life comes full cycle for a certain Gregory Stephen Chappell. Sitting in his Adelaide abode, Chappell probably thought the nightmare of his Team India was behind him. How wrong he was. One episode was yet to be enacted, and it was to come from the most unexpected quarter. Chappell, not even wildest of dreams, could have imagined that of all people, it would be Dravid, his protégé, who would deal the final blow.

Dravid’s comment hints Chappell created a tense dressing room and it had a “destructive” influence on the show. Okay, Wright too had teething problems, but “unlike Greg, he was ready to adapt”. And, Dravid points out, Wright was “more Indian than the Indians”. Now that says a lot and makes interpretation redundant.

One shudders with the thought but had George W Bush opted for cricket coaching, he would have been Greg Chappell, the Team India coach. During Chappell’s stint with Team India, the Aussie ring-master echoed Bush with the message that was both hidden and loud -- you are either with us or you are against us in the fight against Sourav Ganguly. And no prize for guessing which camp Rahul Dravid belonged to.

In fact the likes of Kapil Dev and Ravi Shastri in fact went on to pan a sweetheart like Dravid for taking the backseat and allowing Chappell to call the shots on every major issues.

Chappell has been sent packing, along with his “Commitment to Excellence’ mantra, after he burnt his fingers and all five of them -- the one with which he often thumbed his nose at India’s cricket populace; the assertive index, which he often flashed at the likes of Sehwag, Yuvraj, Zaheer and Harbhajan; the middle which he was notoriously attending to in Eden Gardens.

Make no mistake, Chappell was never short on ideas. But the passion and the attachment was simply not there. He always saw it as yet another deal and his pursuit of success was devoid of any emotional bond. Indian cricket was never a paragon of all cricketing virtues but Chappell’s idea of reform was devoid of love for a country, which is unique in every aspect.

If Wright was successful, it was because he sacrificed a lot. He never allowed his ego to come in the way of team’s interest and did not have a hidden agenda or a personal vendetta. Ganguly owes half his success, if note more, to this self-effacing Kiwi. If Wright succeeded, it was basically because he was a good human being and unfortunately one can’t say the same about Chappell. Dravid’s comments are bound to leave a wound somewhere in his heart, but Chappell probably deserves it.

Image: AFP

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