The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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The newly-appointed coach of the Indian cricket side, Greg Chappell, has blinked. Not once, but many times over. With the responsibility of coaching India staring at him in the face, the high-profile Chappell is showing signs of being under pressure. His posture and his pronouncements have become woefully defensive indeed.

Before his appointment, Chappell delineated how he intended to better the performance of the Indian team. This assertion obviously meant that India would win the next World Cup in the West Indies .

He was also quoted in the media as saying that he would motivate Sachin Tendulkar in such a manner that the great batsman would feel that he is still needed in the team.

At the selection interview , in front of the six wise men of Indian cricket, Greg Chappell repeated both his promises and outlined how he intended to bring about improvements in Indian cricket. The six wise men were highly impressed with his predictions and presentations, and promptly offered him the appointment letter.

A beaming Chappell then posed for pictures in an angavastram and made the right noises to keep the media happy. However, no sooner than his appointment was confirmed, the master communicator did a somersault and confided that India would not make it to the number one position in the next 2 years! He also planted a story that Sachin Tendulkar would never again become the scourge of bowlers that he has been so far!

Big talk

The Board of Control for Cricket in India should ask Greg Chappell to explain his change of stance within days and tell him categorically that he has to live up to the promises which he made before being appointed as the Indian coach.

Greg Chappell has never coached a successful side. His record with South Australia was woefully poor. Not only that, his stint as the batting advisor to the Pakistan team too was cut short by the authorities. In Australia, he has never been given an opportunity to coach the national side.Even his much-publicized meeting with Sourav Ganguly has to be looked at in the proper perspective. Before India's tour of Australia in 2003, Ganguly met Chappell to discuss his batting problems. After the meeting, Ganguly scored a magnificent century in Brisbane but thereafter, he has been in disastrous form. If we were to credit Chappell for Ganguly's century, then should we not blame him for Ganguly's subsequent failures'

Chequered past

There is little doubt that Greg Chappell was one of the finest batsmen of his time. But his captaincy never earned the plaudits that his elder brother, Ian Chappell, most deservingly, received. Neither was Greg Chappell known for inspiring and motivating his team mates. On the contrary, his name is associated with an unsporting episode in which he asked his younger brother, Trevor Chappell, to bowl underarm to prevent New Zealand batsman, Brian McKechnie, from hitting a six to tie a one-day match. That act of his remains a blot on the face of cricket.

In another incident, Greg Chappell, who was then leading Australia, ran on to the field to confront the England captain, Mike Brearley, who had objected to Dennis Lillee using an aluminium bat. Brearley's superior knowledge of the game's laws convinced the umpires to shoo away Chappell from the ground.

Let us hope that India's gentlemen cricketers do not learn the unethical aspects of cricket from the former Australian captain. Ironically, the board has given the responsibility of taking India to a higher level to a man who is yet to achieve anything as a coach. If he succeeds in making India the runner up in the next World Cup, that would be nothing short of a miracle.

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