Greg Chappell’s name has become synonymous with controversy. The former Australia captain’s rants about Indian cricket have hit the headlines often ever since he ended his term as coach in 2007.
His latest salvo comes in the form of an article written in a just-released book ‘Rahul Dravid — Timeless Steel’ in which he indicates that the former India captain didn’t enjoy the support of some of his teammates.
“Sadly the success of the team was not universally enjoyed within the team. Some individuals felt threatened by the new world order and appeared to work against Rahul,” wrote Chappell.
His views found no support from two former chief selectors, Dilip Vengsarkar and Kiran More, whose selectorial terms coincided with Chappell’s controversial tenure as India coach which began in 2005.
‘In bad taste’
“Chappell’s views are in bad taste. What he is saying is absolutely incorrect,” Vengsarkar told MiD DAY yesterday. Vengsarkar took over as chairman of the selection committee from Kiran More in October 2006 before Dravid led his troops to South Africa for the 2006-07 one-day and Test series. After winning the first Test in Johannesburg (India’s first ever Test win in South Africa), they lost the next two Tests in Durban and Cape Town. Before the series, Dravid led the team to a Test victory in the West Indies – India’s first since the epic 1971 win there.
“Dravid could have gone on to become India’s most successful captain had he been given the same whole-hearted support by others,” wrote Chappell.
Vengsarkar stressed: “It’s true that Dravid was a very good captain and that shows in the results Team India achieved during his reign, but I couldn’t foresee what was in store for him.”
While slamming the Australian for washing dirty linen in public, Vengsarkar felt Chappell’s views would help in selling the book. “I have observed several times that some controversial facts are highlighted just to boost the sale of the book,” he said.
Vengsarkar’s then fellow selector Ranjib Biswal also rubbished Chappell’s theory. “Rahul is a great batsman and a very accomplished captain. It was Greg who wasn’t liked by other members of the team. There was discontent among the players, but Rahul was well respected,” he said.
Meanwhile, More, who was chairman from 2004 to September 2006 said: “I have no clue as to what he (Chappell) is saying. The way Dravid carried himself, both as captain and player is praiseworthy. His discipline also made him an iconic figure in the side.”
Chappell to be blamed
Biswal countered Chappell’s claims that Dravid could have become India’s best-ever captain had he got the team’s support. “His captaincy skills were never in question, but the fact is Rahul himself opted out of the captaincy after failing to control the situation where there was a clear divide between the players and coach. So, in a way, it is Chappell who should be blamed for the entire episode and not any player,” Biswal said. However, Dravid relinquished the captaincy in 2007 after India won their first Test (1-0) in England, but lost the odi series 3-4. Anil Kumble replaced his fellow Bangalorean as Test captain while MS Dhoni started leading the limited overs team.