'To be like Australia, you can't work like Zimbabwe'
Greg Chappell, the former India coach, has said that India needs to plan long-term to progress to the next level. Chappell resigned as coach after India's first-round elimination from the 2007 World Cup.
"The Indians must adopt a 10-year plan, spelling out the aims and objectives and go about attaining those goals in a professional manner," Chappell told The Times of India. "Any half measures or cosmetic changes at this stage would be like putting Band-Aid on cancer. If you want to be like Australia, you can't run your cricket like Zimbabwe."
When asked whether India would have fared better if he had the players of his choice for the World Cup, Chappell said that India should have at least made the semi-finals with the players they took to the Caribbean. "I think we should have done much better in the West Indies with the squad we had. We batted poorly against Bangladesh, but we should have still squeezed out a win. History says India's record in defending low totals has been quite poor. We could have done with a few young legs, but I believe that we still had the ammunition to at least reach the semis."
Chappell said he had enjoyed coaching India despite a controversial two-year term in which he reportedly annoyed senior players by his insistence on blooding young cricketers.
"As a coach, it was easily one of the most challenging assignments one could ever hope to have," said Chappell. "I have loved every moment of it, planning, strategising, analysing... before every tour or series.
"I don't want to get into [the] senior-junior issue again. Look, as a player, you have to keep challenging yourself. When that stops, it's time to do a quick reality check and take a few hard decisions. I came here to do a job that I have done to the best of my ability. I do not have any vested interests in Indian cricket. I have briefed the Indian board about the issues facing Indian cricket. One of them is youth development. It's up to the officials to act in the best interests of the game in the country."
Chappell also praised senior cricketers, including Sourav Ganguly, who was ousted as captain and later dropped after a public spat with Chappell in 2005. Ganguly made a comeback during the Test series in South Africa in December.
"He [Ganguly] has practised most of what I had preached during the time he was out of the side. Sourav has shown plenty of determination in winning his place back. I hope he continues to work hard on his fitness and score heavily for the team."
Chappell defended the move to bat Sachin Tendulkar at No. 4 despite most of his one-day success coming while opening the innings. "Opening is an easier option in one-day cricket. I felt that the team would benefit immensely if Sachin came in at number four, for he has the experience, technique and the talent to milk the bowling in the middle overs."
On the whole, in spite of all the controversy, Chappell said that he had no regrets about his term as coach and that he "wouldn't have missed it for anything".