New Delhi, Nov 4: India's premier speedster Zaheer Khan today revealed that Greg Chappell had told him back in 2005 that the fast bowler "would never play for India" till the time he would remain at the helm and termed the period under the Australian as the "darkest phase of Indian cricket".
"After he was appointed the coach of the Indian team, he once came upto me and told "Zaheer, you will not be playing for India till I remain the coach," Zaheer told PTI today completely backing the Sachin Tendulkar's revelations about the Australian's tenure in his upcoming autobiography 'Playing It My Way'.
So how did he react when the coach came up and told him this, Zaheer laughed and said, "I was so taken aback that I couldn't react for some time. I was totally zapped. Like what do I do now? Do I revolt? Do I speak to the captain about what's happening? Do I take his comments at face value? Why is he taking it on me," the 36-year-old Zaheer said.
Zaheer said that Chappell's two-year phase (2005-07) in Indian cricket was "easily the worst and darkest phase" that he could remember. (Also read: Chappell denies Sachin's claims)
"I understood one thing. This man had agendas and was getting personal. He had his set ideas and if you didn't fall in line, then you have to be prepared to fall by the wayside. He tried to finish my career but I believe I came back even stronger in South Africa during the end of 2006," said the left-arm pacer, who has 311 Test and 282 ODI wickets in his 14-year-international career.
Zaheer didn't stop short of calling him a "control freak". "He had some issues with the senior guys in the team. He tried many ways to stop my comeback into Indian team during the phase when I was out of the team for nearly a year. I came to know later that everytime when my name was discussed, he (Chappell) would find means to delay my comeback by 3-4 months," added Zaheer.