Harsha Bhogle talks to cricketers and administrators
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'I was cursing Tendulkar'

Ian Chappell in conversation with Harsha Bhogle, part six (00:00)

May 13, 2010

Transcript

'I was cursing Tendulkar'

May 13, 2010

HB: The only thing that I have not understood about you over the years is: you enjoy cricket, it's a real game. I have not understood why you enjoy that other slogathon...

IC: Baseball?

HB: Yes

IC: Baseball is a great game. I was fortunate in an era in Australia where you had winter baseball and cricket in the summer. Nowadays it's summer baseball as well.

HB: And even cricket is played 10 months of a year.

IC: Yes, and because you have summer baseball, you can't play both even if you wanted to. But I could, and I had an equal love for baseball as I had for cricket.

HB: That's continued in Australia - you've got an American baseball coach helping your cricket team out.

IC: To me that was an indication of John Buchanan's lack of knowledge of the game of cricket. Australia had just lost Ian Healy, Mark Taylor and Mark Waugh. Your catching cordon is not going to improve when you lose those three guys, three top-of-the range catchers behind the wicket, and Australia started dropping catches in that area behind the wicket. So Buchanan went to the board and said that we need to improve our fielding, when what he should have been saying is that we need to improve our catching.

Now Youngy [Mike Young], far and away, is the best Australian baseball coach that the country has ever had. But Youngy has caught the ball all his life with one hand and with the glove.

I will go in order. You've got guys like Bob Simpson, the best slip fielder that I have seen; Greg Chappell; you've got Mark Taylor, you've got Mark Waugh. Any of those guys, you could have got those guys in to talk to fellows about catching in the slips. But Buchanan was able to get Youngy in there because the Australian cricket board as it was then, the administrators, didn't understand the game properly. If Don Bradman had been on the board, for instance, and Buchanan had gone forward with that idea, then Bradman would have said, "Mate, it's rubbish. What we need is somebody to tell them how to catch in the slips."

HB: Do you look back at your career and say that there is unfinished business?

IC: For me personally? I wouldn't have retired.

HB: Somebody you want to see in the game?

IC: Yes…

HB: I don't expect you to turn up and play No. 3 for Australia tomorrow morning.

IC: No, no. One of my great regrets in life will be that I didn't see Virender Sehwag's innings at the Brabourne stadium.

I remember the day Barry Richards made 300 in Perth. I remember sitting there late in the afternoon, and I was thinking, "Damn it, I have never seen anyone make 300 in a day, but I am just going to fall short today because Barry is going to get about 280 if he bats the whole day." At about that point, he suddenly got a move on and he went to 325. Great, I have seen somebody actually make 300 in a day, which is one of the special things that happen in the game of cricket, because it happens so rarely.

I was doing the commentary in Multan [in 2004] and Sehwag was absolutely going. And I reckon if Sachin Tendulkar hadn't come in and steadied Sehwag down, I reckon he might not have quite got 300 that day, but he would have got damn close. He got 224 or 228 by stumps. But I was cursing Tendulkar…

HB: [laughs]

IC: I was saying, "Stay down your end, keep away from Sehwag, just let him go." Because I think when a guy is in that mood, just let him go.

HB: Do you keep track of how many matches you have played and how many you have watched, and therefore gross number, because you still get excited. I see you at cricket matches and you come up in the morning and you still get excited watching cricket, and I hope that never stops.

IC: Well, so do I; and I think I am a very fortunate person that I have been able to work in a job where you really love going to work. People ask me whether I get sick of it, do I get bored, to which I reply, "Mate, I could have easily been working down the coal mine. And this is much better than working down the coal mine."

I sit down there as a commentator, and the thing that I enjoy is captaining both sides in my mind.

HB: You still are?

IC: Yes, I am captaining both sides, as to what Australia could do when they are down… I think it's part of my job as a commentator to try and tell people that. For a number of reasons. One, it's my job, but two, I think rather than bang people over the head and say, "This is exciting, you should stay and watch that"... If I am sitting at home in my lounge and some commentator says to me that this is exciting and you should stay and watch, I would say, "Mate, you let me be the judge of what I think is exciting and whether I am going to stay and watch."

You could do it subtly by saying, "Ricky Ponting is having a bit of trouble with the hook shot at the moment and Kemar Roach has got him in trouble with that short one, and I think you will find somewhere in the next over coming up Kemar Roach will probably try get one straight at Ponting so that the hook shot gets in the air."

Stuff like that. Now hopefully the guy sitting in the lounge is watching either to see if that happens, and if doesn't happen then he is going to say, "That dope Chappell, he doesn't know what he is talking about." But you are giving the viewer a reason to continue watching the game, a subtle reason, and not banging him on the head: "Mate, this is going to be exciting."

HB: Good to talk to you. I am delighted that you enjoy watching the game, because sometimes you can watch the game and as a former captain you can say that I know it all and get cynical. Or you can say that the game is never as good as it was in my era, which a lot of former cricketers get into. I hope you continue to be as refreshing and enjoy just talking about the game.

IC: Well, I love the game and you should never think that you know it all because you will be surprised every day you go to the cricket.

HB: Can I give you a word of advice, though?

IC: Yes, sure.

HB: Do come in five or 10 minutes late sometimes, it will make me feel a lot better.

IC: [laughs]

HB: There you are. It's always great fun to talk to Ian Chappell, not just on the issue of captaincy but generally on his observations on the game. The next time I sit in the commentary box with Ian Chappell, I am actually going to sit and see if he is gesticulating about where the field should be. That's part of the fun of being with Ian Chappell.


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