'I have no secret information about India'

Published: Saturday, September 27, 2008, 13:44 [IST]
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ChappellMelbourne: Former India coach Greg Chappell insisted that he possesses no classified information about the Indian team, and even if he did, he would not hand it over to the visiting Australian Team.

Chappell, who polarised a nation of a billion people in his two years as India coach, and is now helping plot its defeat, said his role is to help the Australian team through its biggest upheaval in more than two decades and create greater understanding between the countries to avoid a repeat of the hostilities that erupted last summer.

Chappell, who stepped down as coach of the Indian team more than 18 months ago, is presently assisting Ricky Ponting's men as an assistant to coach Tim Nielsen.

His mere presence with the Aussies for the four-match Test series has flared up rumours that he would pass on vital information regarding the Indian outfit to Nielsen.

''To be quite honest we haven't discussed the Indian team,'' Chappell was quoted as saying by the 'Sydney Morning Herald'.

''The Australians have played against India pretty regularly in recent times, I think they have got enough footage and personal experience with the Indian team to understand what they have to do.

A, I don't feel I have any sensitive information, and, B, professionalism suggests there are certain things that are not available to the Australians. Anyway, there is nothing I know that they don't know,'' he added.

Despite the disillusionment that followed the Harbhajan Singh race scandal between the teams, Chappell believes ''The fact of the matter is this is the centre of the universe as far as cricket is concerned.'' ''If you want to be involved in cricket, India is going to be a part of it. This is another message for the boys on this tour, that if it wasn't for India, cricket would be a very minor game, so let's embrace that and understand that and it will put everything into perspective.

''Having said that, there will be a lot of scrutiny, off the field, of what is happening on the field, and the worst thing you can do is get distracted.'' Chappell's tenure was fraught from the moment of his falling-out with former captain Sourav Ganguly, and culminated with the disastrous 2007 World Cup. Claims that his efforts to rejuvenate the side were actively resisted have since been aired in a documentary, and he prefers not to revisit them in any detail.

''I've had the most wonderful experience in three years in India,'' he said. ''Sure, there were parts of it that were turbulent, but we also had some very successful times. Much as Australia is going through a transition, India is going through a transition as well, and whenever you go through that there is pain,'' he added.


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