Greg Chappell ignites fresh controversy

Updated: Friday, July 6, 2012, 10:52 [IST]
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Greg Chappell ignites fresh controversy

Mumbai, Jul 5: Former India coach Greg Chappell has ignited a fresh controversy in his newly-released book on Rahul Dravid, saying had the retired batting great received the same support that he gave other captains, he would have been the country's most successful skipper.

Chappell wrote that despite Dravid guiding the Indian team to a number of victories, his success was not enjoyed by some of the members of the side.

"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," Chappell has written in his book 'Rahul Dravid - Timeless Steel', which was launched here on Wednesday.

"Had he been given the same wholehearted support in the role that he had given others, I think the recent history of Indian cricket may have been very different and he could have gone on to become the most successful Indian captain ever," he added.

The former Australia skipper recalled how Dravid led India to nine ODI wins in a row by inserting the opposition after winning the toss, regardless of the conditions, and then went on to pilot the team to a world record of 17 consecutive wins batting second.

"To learn how to get better at chasing a target, Rahul kept asking the opposition to bat first, no matter the conditions. Under his leadership, India won nine ODIs in a row against Pakistan and England, and went on to complete a world record of 17 consecutive wins batting second."

Stating that the same approach had helped India win Test matches abroad as well, Chappell wrote, "A similar approach to Test cricket brought about India's first overseas victory in the West Indies for 35 years and a first-ever Test victory in South Africa, which could have been turned into a series win if the team had batted better in the second innings in the final Test in Cape Town."

Chappell's reference is to India's Test series victory (1-0 in the four-match series) in the Caribbean in 2006 followed by its maiden win in Johannesburg's opening Test of the 2006-07 series, before Dravid's team lost the next two games and the rubber to the Proteas.

Chappell, who had a wonderful rapport during his tenure as coach with the Bangalorean in sharp contrast to his stormy relationship with skipper Sourav Ganguly, has written he was fond of Dravid.

"Men don't say these things, but I have a genuine affection for Rahul Dravid," Chappell has said in the book published by Walt Disney Company (India) Pvt Ltd.

Stating that Dravid gave everything he had on the cricket field, Chappell has written that world's second highest scorer in Test cricket was a much better captain than he would ever be credited with.

"He was an excellent deputy, in that he gave whole-hearted support without ever thinking he might be better than the incumbent, and when he got the job he was a much better captain than he will ever be credited with," Chappell has written.

Praising the former India no. 3 further, Chappell has stated in his article that Dravid never took rash decisions as a player or uttered ill-advised words on or off the field.

Recalling an incident during a Test match against Sri Lanka at the Feroz Shah Kotla in Delhi, Chappell observed how Dravid's constant search for improving himself as a batsman had helped him tackle the island nation's spin wizard Muttiah Muralidaran in the second innings, after being dismissed cheaply in the first.

"Muralidaran took seven for 100 in the first innings, in which Sachin Tendulkar made a patient century. Rahul was one of many who had found scoring runs against Muralidaran (tough) in the first innings," Chappell has written.

The Australian adds that Dravid sought out his advice on how to tackle the prodigious off spin of Murali and refused to accept his words that he (Dravid) could not have done better.

"He wouldn't accept that as an answer and insisted I do better, so I said that he had to look for scoring opportunities off every ball, no matter how hard it was."

Taking the cue, Dravid batted positively and made a fluent 53 in the second essay before being run out, Chappell has written.


Story first published:  Thursday, July 5, 2012, 16:33 [IST]
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