Former Indian cricket team coach Greg Chappell said the Indian team that he coached was more talented than the current bunch of players. Greg Chappell has had a bitter-sweet experience with the Indian team during his two-year stint, but after nine years Greg opened up about the great things being the Indian team coach.
Greg resigned as the coach of the Indian team after a disastrous performance in the group stage of the 2007 World Cup in West Indies. India lost to Bangladesh and Sri Lanka and only managed to win against Bermuda. In the build up to 2007 World Cup, India were one of the favourites to lift the World Cup, but a group stage exit took the cricketing fraternity in India by a surprise.
“The one that I coached had more depth in talent. There was a lot of talent in the teams we played against, in the top half a dozen players, but then it dropped away a bit. More from an experience and a belief point of view rather than a lack of talent,” Greg stated.
But Greg feels, the talented bunch of the cricketers failed to shine in overseas conditions just because of India’s ordinary bowling department.
Greg during his interview to ESPNcricinfo said, “The Indian team that I coached, on paper, had one of the best batting line-ups that any Test team could boast. Not many that outshone it as far as talent was concerned. The depth of talent in that group was extraordinary. I don’t know that they got the best out of the group that they had. Other teams probably got more out of the talent they had. There are a number of reasons for that. Partly because they didn’t have the bowling attack to make the most of that batting line-up. Away from India, it didn’t do as well as it probably should have done.”
Greg has observed two years of controversy during his stint with the Indian team. Many words are written on the brawl between Greg and Indian senior players like Sourav Ganguly, who resigned from captaincy and was subsequently dropped from the team. Sachin Tendulkar was forced to play down the order. During the 2007 World Cup, captain Rahul Dravid asked Greg to let Sachin bat as an opener, but Greg wanted to Sachin bat at No. 4. So coach’s decision to stick with the plan left the senior players gutted.
But, Greg said he felt “honoured” to be the coach of Indian team. The former Australian batsman still desires to be the Indian coach.
“It was a great honour to get a chance to coach someone else’s national team. I would have loved to have coached an Australian team if that had been available. But failing that, to get a chance to coach India, which at the time was, and currently still is, the powerhouse in world cricket, and to have some of the great names that that line-up had was a great honour.”
Meanwhile, talking about his experience about the atmosphere around the Indian team in India, Greg said, “Being with the Indian cricket team was what it must have been like travelling with the Beatles. It was remarkable the way they were feted around the country wherever they went. Big crowds gathered at airports. The whole airport would come to a standstill.”
Greg also praised the Indian cricket players as he was overwhelmed the way Indian players absorb the pressure of millions of cricket fans.
“To see it from the inside and to understand some of the pressures on the players. It wasn’t an easy thing to be an Indian cricketer, especially a renowned Indian cricketer. The expectations, the interruptions to their day-to-day lives, and the restrictions on their ability to move freely – I marvelled at the way they managed to absorb all of that and just get on with it,” Greg signed off.