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2007 World Cup

File image of Suresh Raina.(AP)
File image of Suresh Raina.(AP)
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Suresh Raina Recalls Occasional Unrest Among Indian Players

Suresh Raina did not name the individuals in his autobiography Believe but explained that he would occasionally receive a cold shoulder from some players upon his arrival on the Indian team.

Former India batsman Suresh Raina has revealed that he did not have the smoothest of relations with some of the senior players of the Indian team initially in his career. Suresh Raina made his India debut in 2005 under the captaincy of Rahul Dravid and when Greg Chappell was the coach.

Suresh Raina has 5615 runs from 226 ODIs and 1605 from 78 T20Is for India. (Source: File)
Suresh Raina has 5615 runs from 226 ODIs and 1605 from 78 T20Is for India. (Source: File)

Suresh Raina Admits Having Tense Moments With Cricketers In India’s Dressing Room

Suresh Raina did not name the individuals but explained that he would occasionally receive a cold shoulder from some players upon his arrival on the Indian team.

(File) Sourav Ganguly (left) with Greg Chappell
(File) Sourav Ganguly (left) with Greg Chappell

“Believe me, I know what ragging is. We didn’t have that. What we did have were some tense moments with some players. There were instances when we would greet some of the senior players in the morning, and they wouldn’t greet us back. But I never took these to heart.”

The Greg Chappell era remains an infamous one in the history of Indian cricket. It was a time when Indian cricket was in a bit of turmoil with the whole Sourav Ganguly-Greg Chappell fallout, which was followed by India’s early elimination from the 2007 World Cup after which Greg Chappell was duly shown the door.

Suresh Raina: A Significant Change Was Rahul Dravid Replacing Sourav Ganguly As The Skipper Which Led To Discomfort And Unrest

With Sourav Ganguly out of the team, Rahul Dravid replaced him as the captain of the team, which Suresh Raina revealed was one of the reasons behind the tension between some senior players. The former left-handed batsmen informed that even though Sachin Tendulkar and skipper Rahul Dravid would try and maintain a positive environment in the team, there was occasional unrest.

After his ouster from the team in 2005, Sourav Ganguly was replaced by Rahul Dravid as India captain. (Getty Images)
After his ouster from the team in 2005, Sourav Ganguly was replaced by Rahul Dravid as India captain. (Getty Images)

“So, it was the accumulation of all these factors that led to the occasional unrest among the seniors. It was a transitional period for the team. Not every junior player felt comfortable in that situation. But my relations with Rahul Bhai were very good.”

Former Indian cricket captain and current BCCI President Sourav Ganguly always maintained that the “biggest setback” of his career was when he was stripped of his captaincy and eventually dropped from the national side in 2005. Many senior cricketers, including Sourav Ganguly, have talked about the period when India was coached by Australian Greg Chappell and his strained relationship with others in the team.

Sourav Ganguly, also fondly known as ‘Dada’, made his comeback in 2006 in India’s tour of South Africa and proved his critics wrong that his best years were gone by. He played some of his best knocks before hanging up his boots in 2008.   He is revered as one of the best Indian captains for his role in reviving Indian cricket’s image following the match-fixing scandal in 2000.

His brand of fearless and aggressive cricket made India into a force to reckon with in world cricket. Apart from the many milestones and victories that the team chalked up under his leadership, he also led India to the final of the 2003 World Cup. He represented India in 113 Tests and 311 ODIs, scoring 7,212 and 11,363 runs in the respective formats during his career.

Ricky Ponting, right, is set to be replaced as Australia captain by Michael Clarke. Photograph: Aijaz Rahi/AP
Ricky Ponting, right, is set to be replaced as Australia captain by Michael Clarke. Photograph: Aijaz Rahi/AP
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Michael Clarke Opens Up On How He Saved Predecessor Ricky Ponting From Getting Dropped

Michael Clarke, former Australia captain has revealed that he saved his predecessor two-time World Cup-winning skipper Ricky Ponting from getting dropped from the national side after taking over the reins of the national team.

It’s not common for Australian captains to continue playing after stepping down as they usually retire while still in charge. Allan Border, Mark Taylor, Steve Waugh, and even Michael Clarke himself, are some of the examples.

Delhi Capitals head coach Ricky Ponting (Photo | IPL Twitter)
Delhi Capitals head coach Ricky Ponting (Photo | IPL Twitter)

Michael Clarke Fought To Keep Ricky Ponting In Team When He Took Captaincy

However, it wasn’t the case with Ricky Ponting, one of the most successful captains in Test history. Ricky Ponting stepped down from the Australian captaincy after the 2011 World Cup, and expectably Michael Clarke took over. Ricky Ponting remained committed to the team’s cause and received backing from his long-time vice-captain, who believed in his experience and ability.

Ricky Ponting and Michael Clarke. (Getty )
Ricky Ponting and Michael Clarke. (Getty )

Speaking to former NRL star Brett Finch on his Uncensored podcast, Michael Clarke revealed that Australian selectors were keen to move on and drop Ricky Ponting to provide the new leader with a fresh environment.

“When I took over the captaincy, that’s why I fought to keep Ricky,” said Michael Clarke.

“The selectors said, ‘Very rarely does a captain stand down and stay in the team, so if you don’t feel comfortable … it’s time for Ricky to go’.

“I said, ‘We need him. We need him for his batting, but he’ll be another coach for us’. So I fought hard to keep him, I wanted him there. I thought he played a big part in helping that younger generation get to the level we needed to. If he was batting at 80 per cent, he was better than anybody else at No. 3 or No. 4. We think the grass is greener all the time. Very rarely is it.”

Although Ricky Ponting has admitted that his form tailed off in the last phase of his career, he still had the backing of his captain and ended up playing 16 Tests under Michael Clarke between 2011 and late 2012, scoring 1,015 runs at an average of 37.59.

This phase brought his career batting average down from the mid-50s to 51.85. Ricky Ponting was the captain of the Australian cricket team when they won the 2003 and 2007 World Cup.

Ricky Ponting played 375 ODIs for Australia and scored 13704 runs at an average of 42.04. He also has 30 centuries and 82 fifties. Even in the Test format, Ricky Ponting has 13378 runs in 168 matches with 41 hundred. Ricky Ponting is considered one of the most successful captains in international cricket history, with 220 victories in 324 matches with a winning ratio of 67.91%.

Michael Clarke Never Dreamt Of Captaining Australia

In 2013, Ricky Ponting revealed in his autobiography that he didn’t feel as supported by Michael Clarke, the vice-captain. The latter admitted to the same in his autobiography too. In an interview with Brett Finch, Michael Clarke admitted that he found it hard to be Ricky Ponting’s understudy because of the inevitable wait.

“I dreamt of playing for Australia, but I never dreamt of captaining Australia. I found it really difficult when I was vice-captain that there was an expectation that I was always going to be the next captain. I hated that. I would rather have stayed a youngster or be captain. I wasn’t very good at the in-between,” added the 40-year-old.

Michael Clarke. (Photo Source: Getty Images)
Michael Clarke. (Photo Source: Getty Images)(Photo by Pramod Thakur/Hindustan Times via Getty Images)

Michael Clarke debuted for Australia in 2003 and was immediately tipped to be a future Australian captain. He was promoted to the role of vice-captain after Adam Gilchrist’s retirement in 2008. Michael Clarke led Australia between 2011 and 2015. During his tenure, he became the fourth Australian captain after Allan Border, Steve Waugh, and Ricky Ponting (twice) to win the ODI World Cup.

Greg Chappell
Greg Chappell
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Rahul Dravid Was Invested In India Becoming The Best Team But There Was Resistance From Some Senior Players: Greg Chappell

Greg Chappell’s tenure as head coach of the Indian cricket team is one of the most controversial chapters in Indian cricket. Greg Chappell was appointed the successor of John Wright but ended up having tumultuous two years as coach. Under him, India suffered a first-round exit in the 2007 World Cup following defeats to Bangladesh and Sri Lanka. The result was received with a lot of backlashes and the former Australia captain was released from his duty.

Besides the Greg Chappell-Sourav Ganguly saga, plenty of other things happened behind closed doors, some of which were revealed by the likes of former India cricketers such as Sachin Tendulkar, VVS Laxman, Harbhajan Singh.

Sachin Tendulkar in his autobiography had revealed how he was shocked when Greg Chappell approached him to become captain of the team a month prior to the World Cup, while Harbhajan Singh termed the former Australia captain as a ‘school headmaster’ for the way he operated and ran things.

Greg Chappell and Sourav Ganguly (File Photo/BCCI)
Greg Chappell and Sourav Ganguly (File Photo/BCCI)

Greg Chappell: Rahul Dravid Was Invested In India Becoming The Best Team In The World But Some Seniors Resisted

Now, years later, Greg Chappell has presented his side of the story, revealing details of what transpired in the Indian dressing room during his stint as coach between 2005 and 2007. He explained how Rahul Dravid, the then-captain of the team, wanted India to strive for the best. The former Australian pointed out that he spotted ‘resistance’ in some players, and that did not work well for the team back in the day.

Former Indian head coach Greg Chappell (L), Former Indian captain Rahul Dravid(HT Collage)
Former Indian head coach Greg Chappell (L), Former Indian captain Rahul Dravid(HT Collage)

“Dravid was really invested in India becoming the best team in the world. Sadly, not everyone on the team had the same feeling. They would rather concentrate on being in the team. There was some resistance from some of the senior players because some of them were coming to the end of their careers,” Chappell revealed on Cricket Life Stories Podcast.

After taking over as India’s full-time captain from Sourav Ganguly, Rahul Dravid captained the team in 20 Tests and 62 ODIs. In that period, India had series wins in West Indies, Bangladesh, and, most memorably, England. All that good work, however, came undone when India was infamously eliminated from the 2007 ODI World Cup after the group stage.

Greg Chappell: Many Players Realized If Skipper Sourav Ganguly Can Be Axed Their Places In Squad Is Also Uncertain

Furthermore, the former coach also explained how the axing of Sourav Ganguly first as captain and then from the team, sent a message to the senior players about their place in the Indian team, but it all stopped when the former captain returned to the XI ahead of India’s tour of South Africa in late 2006. The ‘resistance’ which Greg Chappell mentioned, played a role in him leaving his role as India coach.

“When Sourav got dropped from the team, we had a lot of attention from the players, because they realized if he can go, anyone can go. We had a great 12 months, but then the resistance got too much, Ganguly came back into the team. The message from the players was loud and clear – ‘We don’t want change.’ Even though the board offered me a new contract, I decided that I did not need that kind of stress,” Chappell added.

 Sourav Ganguly played his final Test vs Australia in Nagpur in 2008 (PTI Photo)
Sourav Ganguly played his final Test vs Australia in Nagpur in 2008 (PTI Photo)

Consequently, due to his poor form and differences with the coach, Sourav Ganguly was dropped as the captain of the team, with Rahul Dravid taking his place. Ten months later, during India’s tour to South Africa, Sourav Ganguly was recalled after his middle-order replacements suffered poor form.

Sourav Ganguly made his comeback in 2006 in India’s tour of South Africa and proved his critics wrong that his best years were gone by. He played some of his best knocks including a maiden Test double ton before hanging up his boots in 2008.