Pawar praises ex-coach's commitment April 6, 2007

Chappell offered consultant's role at NCA



Sharad Pawar feels that Greg Chappell still has plenty to offer for the betterment of Indian cricket © AFP

Greg Chappell's innings as coach has certainly come to an end, amidst some furore in the public eye with certain players expressing their hurt and annoyance at his ways, but the Board of Control for Cricket in India ensured that he did not leave on a bitter note.

On Thursday evening, the night before the review committee meeting, a senior official of the board attempted to persuade Chappell to reconsider his decision not to seek an extension of his contract. While that did not happen, there certainly was a surprise in store the next day.

Chappell's presentation to the president - which was widely expected to be scathing in its attack on the attitude of senior players - did not mention a single name, and instead concentrated on what needs to be done to strengthen and improve Indian cricket.

"The president was not just impressed by Chappell's presentation on the day, but he appreciated him for all the effort he had put in with the team in the last two years," a board source revealed to Cricinfo. "Everyone had assumed that Chappell would blast the players but he gave his analysis of what was wrong and what needed to be done."

The board, which had treated Chappell with utmost courtesy even after he announced that he would not be continuing as India's coach, went one step further, offering him a position at the National Cricket Academy, where he could "put in place the things he had mentioned in his presentation."

In Chappell's presentation, the definite accent was on youth, and the development of players who had the strength, power and fitness to play the game in a manner that would make them competitive at the highest role. It's interesting to note that Chappell enjoyed a good rapport with youngsters in his tenure. Even in private the youngsters have barely had a crib about Chappell's ways, and players like Irfan Pathan and Suresh Raina have said in interviews that they benefitted from Chappell's coaching. Ironically, one of the charges that has been laid against Chappell was that he was too "schoolmasterly", and that might just work in his favour if he chooses to accept a role at the NCA dealing with youngsters.

The offer the Board has made to Chappell - and the details of this have not been discussed and certainly nothing has been agreed on - is as much a rap on the knuckles to certain players as it is a vote of confidence in Chappell.

"Some players just assumed things and gave statements to the media. Now where does that leave them?" the source asked. The BCCI has not taken kindly to what has been perceived as a players' move to "get rid" of the coach. "We always take the suggestions of the senior players when appointing a coach, but they cannot dictate who should come or when they should go."

Chappell, who was scheduled to leave Mumbai for Singapore on Friday, after making his presentation, was forced to postpone his departure, leading to further speculation about what his role may be. But Cricinfo has learned that he only did so because he took ill in the course of the day, feeling breathless, and the hotel doctor had to be summoned to attend to him.

Anand Vasu is associate editor of Cricinfo

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