Sachin Tendulkar’s just-released autography ‘Playing It My Way’ has created quite a stir, particularly for the harsh criticism he has made of former India coach Greg Chappell, now among the most hated persons in India. With Tendulkar’s revelations being flashed all over, many other senior stalwarts, who were part of the team during that era, have come out and spoken up about that dark phase in Indian cricket. Chappell, himself has replied to the allegations, denying all that has been written about him in the book. Here’s a round-up of who has had what to say about the raging issue in Indian cricket.
Sachin Tendulkar’s claims: In his book, Tendulkar has alleged, “Chappell was a ringmaster who imposed his ideas on the players without showing any signs of being concerned about whether they felt comfortable or not.” Tendulkar also claimed that Chappell wanted him to take over the leadership from Rahul Dravid months before the 2007 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.”
Chappell’s denial: Responding toTendulkar’s allegations in the book, Chappell clarified through a CA statement, Whilst I don't propose to get into a war of words, I can state quite clearly that during my time as Indian coach, I never contemplated Sachin replacing Rahul Dravid as captain. I was therefore very surprised to read the claims made in the book.”
Sourav Ganguly’s statement: In the wake of Tendulkar’s revelations, the former India captain, who is known to have had a tumultuous relationship with Chappell also released a controversial statement. “I was not surprised to see India not qualifying for the next round in 2007 World Cup. When I came back to the team, I had spoken to Dravid about that much later and told him that these were the things going on. He said he knew it all but couldn't control Greg.”
Dravid hits back: Rejecting Ganguly’s claims, Rahul Dravid responded via a television channel stating, "If Ganguly is saying I could not control Greg Chappell, he is entitled to an opinion. He has played many years for India. But he can't put words in my mouth as I have never had any such conversation with him."
The Sunny side: Former India Sunil Gavaskarexpressed a rationale view in the matter. Speaking about India’s 2007 World Cup debacle, Gavaskar told a TV channel, "I don't think you can blame the coach entirely for what happens on the field. I don't think that's fair. It is the players' batting and bowling that has to do the job.”
VVS’ special comment: Hitting out at Chappell, VVS Laxman commented to a news channel, “I mentioned that back in 2000, I had decided I would not open anymore after it didn't work for me in the first four years. I was consistent in the middle order. Chappell asked me my age and said - Don't you think 31 is too young an age to sit at home? I had a very good run under him. I was the second highest run-scorer under him."
--By A Cricket Analyst