A biography of the gentleman cricketer of modern era is supposed to create thunderous waves as the honesty and integrity of Master blaster Sachin Tendulkar, the writer is, beyond doubt. The book, I presume will prove to be a landmark as no one can even think of the rich experience and exposure Sachin Tendulkar has got.
Tendulkar is apparently contemptuous in his criticism of Greg Chappell, the national coach of Indian team from 2005 to 2007, he described him as a “ringmaster who imposed his ideas on the players without showing any signs of being concerned about whether they felt comfortable or not”.
Tendulkar in his book has explained that in a bid to replace Dravid, Chappell came to see him in his house and proposed. Said Sachin “Just months before the World Cup, Chappell had come to see me at home and, to my dismay, suggested that I should take over the captaincy from Rahul Dravid. Anjali (Tendulkar’s wife), who was sitting with me was equally shocked to hear him say that ‘together, we could control Indian cricket for year’, and that he would help me in taking over the reins of the side.”
A shocking Tendulkar revealed “I was surprised to hear the coach not showing the slightest amount of respect for the captain, with cricket’s biggest tournament just months away”. Obviously Tendulkar rejected Chappell’s proposition outright. “He stayed for a couple of hours, trying to convince me before finally leaving”.
A disgusted and furious Tendulkar reported the matter to the BCCI. In his book, Sachin describes “I suggested to the BCCI that the best option would be to keep Greg back in India and not send him with the team to the World Cup”.
Tendulkar had offered a vital suggestion to BCCI that the senior players could take control of the side and keep the team together but his suggestion was not accepted. Sachin explains this in his book by writing “That is not what happened, of course, and the 2007 campaign ended in disaster”
The Indian team won only one of the three group matches against lowly Bermuda, and ended up losing to Bangladesh and Sri Lanka as well.
Commenting on Chappell’s performance as the Coach, Sachin opined “Chappell was publicly questioning “our commitment and instead of asking us to take fresh guard, was making matters worse”.
Sachin further revealed that many of the senior players were relieved to see Chappell go, “which was hardly surprising because, for reasons hard to comprehend, he had not treated them fairly”.
Tendulkar has written that Chappell wanted to drop senior players from the team. Sachin said “Chappell seemed intent on dropping all the older players and in the process damaged the harmony of the side. On one occasion, he asked VVS Laxman to consider opening the batting. Laxman politely turned him down, saying he had tried opening in the first half of his career because he was confused, but now he was settled in the middle order and Greg should consider him as a middle-order batsman.”
Chappel retaliated by commenting that Laxman’s comeback may be difficult ““Greg’s response stunned us all. He told Laxman he should be careful, because making a comeback at the age of thirty-two might not be easy.”
Pointing out another strange phenomenon of Chappell, Sachin said “I also remember that every time India won, Greg could be seen leading the team to the hotel or into the team bus, but every time India lost he would thrust the players in front. In general John and Gary always preferred to stay in the background, but Greg liked to be prominent in the media.”
Also recollected Tendulkar that how disappointed they were after the shock first round exit during the 2007 World Cup and how he was hurt when people questioned the commitment of the Indian players. Tendulkar explained “After we returned to India, the media followed me back home and it hurt when I heard my own people doubting the commitment of the players. The media had every right to criticize us for failing, but to say we were not focused on the job was not fair.”
It appears a lot of other hard core truths and facts will be unearthed in the book of Sachin Tendulkar, which will be useful in eliminating shortcomings and improving the standard of Indian cricket in the future.