Time was when everything associated with cricket was synonymous with good behaviour. The obscene gesture made by the coach of the Indian cricket team, Greg Chappell, after the match in Calcutta while boarding the coach to leave the ground, was proof, if proof were needed, that civilized behaviour is no longer to be taken for granted from cricketers. In an exclusive conversation with The Telegraph he has made no attempt to hide the fact that he did make the gesture. He did not spell out at whom his anger was aimed. The coach might claim that he was honest since he was open enough to own up to what he had done. Actually, he just proved to all and sundry that he is shameless. The vulgar gesture that he made is more to be seen in football grounds than on the cricket field. If a cricketer had made such a gesture while he was playing he would have been fined and rightly so. Greg Chappell has set a very bad example for his players, especially for the younger ones. It should be recalled here that the Chappell brothers, while being great batsmen in their time, were responsible for popularizing sledging and other kinds of unsporting features into the game of cricket. It is evident that Greg Chappell has not grown up. He is, and he cannot afford to forget this, the coach of the Indian national side. He must always behave with dignity whatever be the provocation. He cannot descend into vulgarity when the going is not to his liking. And if he cannot take the pressure of public opinion running against him, then he has no business being the coach of the team that represents India's national sport. Instead of being brazen, Greg Chappell owes everyone ' players, fans, the Board of Control for Cricket in India ' an unqualified apology. Such an apology can, of course, only come from a gentleman.
Greg Chappell has also made the comment that he found the behaviour of the crowd in Eden Gardens to be bizarre. He would have been well advised to confine his comments to the behaviour of a section of a few thousands who were present at Eden Gardens on Friday. The Indian team, playing without the local hero, Sourav Ganguly, was outplayed by the South Africans in every department of the game. The Indian team was booed for playing badly, and knowing the Calcutta crowd it can also be safely said that they would have been similarly booed even if Ganguly had been in the side. The perceived mistreatment of Ganguly only added another dimension. Chappell should leave cricket fans to their own likes and dislikes and concentrate on building up a winning team. If he fails in this task, he will be known as a failure as well as someone who behaved with appalling bad taste.