The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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‘I told Sourav not to carry a bug in his head’
- Greg Chappell says his suggestions were more to do with the mind

Brisbane: Australian great Greg Chappell said on Friday that the suggestions he made to Sourav Ganguly were more to do with the mind than technique during the Indian skipper’s six-day stay in Sydney in August this year.

Chappell also drew Sourav’s attention to the fact that Australian Test skipper Steve Waugh was also vulnerable to short-pitched bowling but he was rarely out to short balls.

“I concentrated more in telling Sourav to keep his mind blank when facing to deliveries rather than carry a bug up in his head,” said Chappell in a first-time revelation of what transpired when the Indian skipper flew down to get batting tips on how to handle short-pitched bowling.

“If there is something which is at the back of your mind, it is going to overshadow everything else. It would affect your movement, slow down your footwork, your hand movement everything,” said Chappell. “I mostly told Sourav to trust his instincts and he would be fine.”

Chappell confirmed this was the tactics he had used so successfully against the quick bowlers of the West Indies in the 70s.

“They might have been extremely quick and dangerous but I never thought about it. If I had, I wouldn’t have made all those runs. If one is stuck on something, it usually dominates and affects the whole process.

“There was also a spell when I made seven successive ducks in Tests and one-day Internationals. But it was happening because I had something in my mind and I wasn’t able to keep it out.

“I remember a reporter once asked me if my form was bad. I said my form was great — I was batting so well in the nets. It was just that I was getting out.”

Chappell saw a lot of similarity between how Sourav and Waugh appeared uncomfortable when faced with short-pitched bowling.

“There is a similarity there. But one must remember Waugh has rarely been out to short bowling. That is the lesson which Sourav must remember. But I must also add if Waugh had a problem against short-pitched bowling, he was really never tested since international cricket is devoid of quality fast bowlers.”

And as three of the four deliveries that Waugh faced on Friday were short, the last one causing his dismissal, Chappell was not off the mark in suggesting it appeared Shane Warne had chosen a wrong captain. It would not be Sourav alone but Waugh too who would be bowled a lot of short-pitched stuff in the coming days.

Warne had remarked just before the first Test that Sourav would face a lot of “chin-music” from Australian fast bowlers as he is distinctly uncomfortable against short-pitched bowling.

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