Challenger Trophy, Mohali October 13, 2005

Sachin is 'close to hitting some good form' - Chappell

Greg Chappell is happy with the appointment of Rahul Dravid as the captain for both the Sri Lanka and South Africa series © Getty Images
Greg Chappell, the Indian coach, feels that Sachin Tendulkar, despite his three failures, showed good signs of regaining his touch and was confident that he was "really close to hitting some good form". Chappell also added that Rahul Dravid had earned the honour of captaining India and thought Sourav Ganguly needed to regain both form and fitness as quickly as possible.

Chappell, who spoke to the media at the end of the game, had no doubts that Tendulkar, who managed just 38 runs in three games, needed as much of cricket as possible. "When you've got a record like Sachin, you've got to give him perhaps consideration that you might not give others," he said. "But there have been very good signs from him. Yesterday he came down in the afternoon and had a net and halfway through that session, I could see the turning point in him. The timing started to come back. I saw that again this afternoon and I saw him start to return to what we know as the Sachin Tendulkar of old. I think he's really close to hitting some really good form."

Chappell dismissed the suggestion that Tendulkar will benefit with a few more games at the domestic level before making his international comeback. "He needs some cricket at the moment and I don't think playing domestic cricket is going to help him anymore than taking away the challenge of playing Sri Lanka. Provided that he and the medical staff feels he's fit then I think you've got to seriously consider him."

He also felt that appointing Rahul Dravid as the captain of the side for both the Sri Lanka and South Africa series was a "positive thing" and added, "I think it's a sign of confidence from the selection panel and from the BCCI." The first few games as captain, according to Chappell, were the toughest and he said, "Anyone who starts off their captaincy is on a learning curve and, having had that experience myself, I know that the first few games are always the toughest ones. I think he's done fine."

Though he didn't comment too much on the captaincy issue, Chappell did add that Ganguly needed to get himself in shape as soon as possible. "He's got some work to do - as anyone who is outside the team - but he's got a wonderful record and that will give him an advantage compared to some other player. I think both form and fitness are important but getting fit will be his primary concern at the moment."

Chappell was pleased with what he saw in the Challenger Trophy and went on to say that "the future of Indian cricket is in pretty good hands. You've got a lot of senior players who've been around for a few years, but there are quite a few young batsmen and bowlers who are ready to push for higher honours. To play with and against the best players in India could only have been positive. Hopefully a few of them can develop over the next year."

Siddhartha Vaidyanathan is staff writer of Cricinfo