The very mention of Greg Chappell, India's former cricket coach, causes the Indian media to go over the top. The latest example came in the form of a report from Australia which quoted Chappell saying in a book that Sachin Tendulkar was mentally fragile in 2006.
The Indian media, starting with some television channels, played it up as Chappell's jibe at the cricketer. But this did not give a good name to mature journalism.
Sure, Chappell and Tendulkar don't send each other birthday greetings, but this doesn't mean everything that Chappell says about the batting genius is derogatory. In this case, Chappell has written a book on focus, which merely mentions that Tendulkar was mentally disturbed in 2006, a period which coincided with injury and a lack of runs.
The media continues to treat Tendulkar as God when he is as human as everyone else, although endowed with special gifts. Like us, he too has a body which must cope with health issues and a mind which gets plagued by self-doubt. And if Chappell dwelled on a dark phase, so what? Surely, it is no disgrace for a sportsman to experience trying situations and lack of form.
In fact, going by the few extracts of Chappell's book, he has praised Tendulkar for coping with expectations, the kind that Sir Donald Bradman didn't have to face. Considering that Bradman's success was a huge cause for celebration for his countrymen during the Great Depression, this is no ordinary compliment.
Indians need to look at the big picture and should start hating Chappell less. In fact, there are some experts who feel that he too played a role in India's rise to the one-day and Test charts.
It will be surprising if Chappell doesn't end up writing about his coaching stint in India and all the controversies that made it so depressing. So, save some breast-beating for then.