Greg Chappell – a hard taskmaster or mirror on the wall?

Recently, there was a report published by (or should I say “leaked to”) the Times Group which was about Chetan Desai’s feedback after the South Africa tour, where he claims that Chappell and Sehwag had some inter-personal issues on the tour.

By now, Dravid has responded with something to the effect of “Chetan who?” and I think that is awesome in this context. Why create a major issue of something that may not be as major as the report makes it out to be?

I am not going to talk much about the report leakage itself. I think it is probably a cheap publicity stunt for Times Now channel which is probably not getting good ratings compared to the many other news channels.

But the important question to answer is whether Greg Chappell is to blame at all. I think not at all. From what we know, Saurav Ganguly was quite head strong and it helped form the “team” in “Team India” but it worked against him when his flaws were pointed out to him. As a result he started losing it, and he became political to the point that he got involved in a bureaucratic battle between Dalmiya and Pawar and was ultimately booted out.

It was an unfortunate event in Indian cricket history and it would have been terrible if he had not been able to come back.

And now, this piece about Sehwag. One of the points made in the report is that Sehwag asked for special nets and then did not turn up at all. If there is one thing that Sehwag has been showing off through this pathetic phase of his career, it is his carelessness and slack attitude. And given that attitude he has shown through his batting, I can surely believe the story that he asked for nets (probably because he had to show some initiative about poor form) and did not turn up at all.

So, what does it say? Greg Chappell perhaps says the truth as bluntly as he can, perhaps to the dislike of our babus like Ganguly, Sehwag and who knows who else. He analyzes the problems within teams, but maybe he is not diplomatic enough to sugarcoat it to suit our Indian style.

Do we need reality checks like what he seems to provide? Yes, of course. Otherwise complacency and babudom will become permanent and we will go back to the late 80’s and early 90’s teams which were just happy to draw out games. Thanks to Chappell, we had a first on the South African tour where a player was sent back mid-way through a series due to lack of form. Path-breaking and thoughtful stuff, which could not have been executed by someone else like John Wright or Madan Lal or Kapil Dev.

Is Chappell the answer to all our problems? Maybe not. India does need some solid whipping for some stupid mistakes, strategic and tactical, that have been made in the past. But more importantly, India needs someone to rally them when they are down. Remember the last World Cup? We barely beat Holland and people were writing us off after the first game. What happened next? “Team India” arose out of the ashes and came back strongly to crush everyone in their path. We need motivators. We need psychoanalysts. We need alternative techniques to drill some inspirational ideas into each person’s brain so that each team member is mentally ready for long tours and tournaments like the World Cup.

And for all you know, Chappell may have proposed all or some of the above already to the Board, but the Board is probably sitting on those ideas, waiting for consensus and whatever else red tap artists do to stall decision-making.

Chappell is good for the team, guys. Let’s give him a break and toast Sehwag (in this case) for his careless nature.

Now on to the World Cup!

Cross posted at Desicritics.org.

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