India news November 10, 2011

Greg Chappell regrets falling out with Tendulkar

ESPNcricinfo staff

Greg Chappell, the former Australia captain, has said in his new book that the biggest regret of his controversial three-year stint as India coach was his failure to communicate properly with Sachin Tendulkar, with whom he had a strained relationship.

Chappell coached India from 2005 to 2007 and pushed hard to bring fresh faces into the Indian side, and tried to initiate changes in the batting line-up. His desire for change did not sit well with many of India's senior players though. He had a very public spat with then India captain, Sourav Ganguly, while the likes of Zaheer Khan, Virender Sehwag and Harbhajan Singh have all criticised his methods.

But it was his disagreement with Tendulkar over his position in the batting order in one-day cricket that he wishes he had handled differently.

"My biggest regret was falling out with Sachin over him batting at number four in the one-day team," PTI quotes Chappell as writing in his new autobiography, Fierce Focus. "It was a shame because he and I had some intense and beneficial talks together prior to that. My impatience to see improvement across the board was my undoing in the end.

"The mistakes I made were not particularly 'western' but the same kind of mistakes I had made as a captain in my playing days. I didn't communicate my plans well enough to the senior players. I should have let guys like Tendulkar, (VVS) Laxman and (Virender) Sehwag know that although I was an agent of change, they were still part of our Test future.

Chappell has also admitted that he was at times abrupt in his dealings with some of the players. "Once in South Africa, I called in Sachin and Sehwag to ask more of them, I could tell by the look on their faces that they were affronted. Later [Rahul] Dravid, who was in the room, said, 'Greg, they've never been spoken to like that before'."

One thing his time as coach did help him understand was the huge amount of pressure Indian cricketers are under, especially Tendulkar. "A glimpse of them was a life-changing event... We were playing an unrelenting amount of cricket to satisfy the demand, at least 50% more than Australia were playing and the pressure was beyond belief.

"Nobody was carrying that pressure more than Sachin. Not even Don Bradman carried expectations like this, and Sachin had been bearing it since 1989.

"When the team travelled, he would snap on his headphones, not look sideways, and shut it all out. There was a constant frenzy trying to get in at him. The energy it would have taken for him to let that kind of excitement in would have drained him dry."

Chappell said he had encouraged Tendulkar to take a day off from training but Tendulkar said that was not a feasible option given the fans' expectations of him. "If he didn't train and then performed badly, he'd have been blamed. People would notice. And there was no relief for him going out onto the streets, either. He just couldn't get any rest."

The book also reveals that prior to Sharad Pawar taking over as BCCI president in 2006, Chappell had a somewhat uncomfortable relationship with the board, whom he claims tried to make life difficult for him, his family and his staff by not paying their bills and wages for months.

"Throughout our living arrangements at the Taj Westend in Bangalore had always seemed tenuous. The BCCI was usually late in paying our bills, and Judy (Chappell's wife), alone in Bangalore for much of the time I was touring, often didn't know whether my employer was looking after its commitments or not.

"The wages for me, Ian Frazer and other support staff were sometimes paid months late. I saw it more as back channel attempts to make life uncomfortable and push towards throwing it in. Things improved markedly under the [Sharad] Pawar regime."

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Dummy4 on November 13, 2011, 4:26 GMT

    For comparisons always compare apples against apples … Compare the scores that Indian bowlers receive on the same pitches against same oppositions vs those of other teams bowling attacks and you can easily figure out that Indian bowling statistics are of the order of that of Bangladesh or Zim……Unfortunately these days there r few multi-nation tournaments in which u can do this statistical analysis…and if u compare the overall ODI totals that Indian batting make on the same pitches against same oppositions vs those of other teams batting totals you can easily figure out that Indian batting statistics are of the order of that of all time World best……….. ……….Indian batsmen have to do miracles to win matches most of the time…………………Just like in the LARA's last tour to SL, Lara scored 680 runs in 3 matches but WI lost 3 nil to SL…… How come LARA became so selfish after departure of Ambrose and Walsh.

  • Dummy4 on November 13, 2011, 3:50 GMT

    It is the most irrational argument that since the percentage of Sachin's match winning 100s is less than that of some other greats that implies that he has merely played for his records......It is the bowlers who make batsmens' runs count towards in this World Cup 2011, on the same dead Sub-Continent pitches India received a score of 260 to chase against Australia whereas Pak received a meager score of 170 to chase against the same opposition-(Indian batters had much harder task). No team could score over 260 against Pak whereas avg score against India was over 280.......Obviously whatever Paki batsmen score their bowlers make it very tough for opposition to chase it and they give modest targets to their battters to chase - Inzamam's 80% centuries are match winning bcz of this reason. ..Similarly LARA's big scores could hardly win anything once Ambrose & Walsh retired.....Indian batsmens' runs r likely to go in vain bcz India never had World class bowling attack.

  • Balu on November 13, 2011, 2:36 GMT

    Let us just face it. Mr Chappel was a bad man manager. All that Gary Kirsten did was work around situations much better and with a far less ego factor attached to it. All said and done Greg did try some new things, changed some mind sets, started on the 7 hats theory, but sadly other than dravid no body else understood him. We have always been successful when we have let the established players rule the roost. Understanding the Indian culture and mindset is critical to success and to be fair he seems to have realised this albeit a little late. Is the time ripe now for his second tenure as India Coach,??/ Who knows, but we WANT GARY Back... Just look at what he did with the SA team..

  • Bharath on November 12, 2011, 18:47 GMT

    A book release means a brief hold on the bully pulpit. Too bad this was marred by the news that Greg was fired as a selector and also been banned from the Aussie dressing room by the players. Will leave it to aussie readers to talk about your not so exemplary record as a domestic selector.Greg, you cannot hide your incompetence in man management behind a culture gap. As a coach that should have been your first priority. It took you a failed stint as a coach to realize that the Indian cricketers were divas? What kind of home work did you put in before starting the job? An advanced course in PowerPoint perhaps? Granted the Indian team is not exactly democratic or egalitarian - why does no one in the team or establishment come forward to say everyone was to blame?

  • Dummy4 on November 12, 2011, 18:19 GMT

    I don't think that Mr Chappell intended to stir up all this controversy that Clint Nelson has stirred up here! The numerous lame excuses received from the Tendulkar worshippers, on his behalf shows that Clint appears to have struck a very truthful and telling note about Sachin. I guess that had Mr Chappell read Clint Nelson's analysis of the selfish man that Tendulkar really is, Mr Chappell would not have conceded to doing any wrong! But Mr Chappell is a big man - it's time Sachin grow up! I hope readers understand the significance of the stats presented by Johnathonjosephs, because I think that some people are unfairly using the quantitative face value of the scores that Tendulkar has produced over two long generations to create a false impression of him in the context of comparisons with greater players. But obviously, he has played nearly 3 times more matches/innings than people with whom he's compared - IF HE'S WORTH HIS SALT HE WOULD HE WOULD AT LEAST SCOORE RUNS/100s THAN THEM!

  • Naresh on November 12, 2011, 14:20 GMT

    @jonathanjosephs Sachin should be respected for what he has achieved as a cricketer. Some fans want to compare a youngster with a 38 year old. He has won many a game for India. Be it in ODI, Tests and even T20 - the records and milestones he has amassed are not for himself but for Indian cricket. They have been obtained in his career path. People forget that some of these achievements of team India - the ODI world cup, 2003 ODI world cup, the NO1 test side etc , he was a part of it all. I feel he is in his last stage of his career and soon he will call it a day. Please respect him. 119 not out v England, Old Trafford, 1990 114 v Australia, Perth, 1991-92 169 v South Africa, Cape Town, 1996-97

  • anthony on November 12, 2011, 11:28 GMT

    Lara for me was the greater bastman and Tendulkar speaks of the pressure in india. The pressure in the West Indies was no less for Lara and windies could be a hostile environment when things didntt go their teams way on occasion during 90-96 when they were still used to winning. Lara carried all that on his shoulders. Im sure if Lara had been indian and had the support of the pitches, and others chipping in, and tendulkar had been west indian and had to carry an entire teams batting attack, that matters and records would conclude Lara is and was superior. too many indian fans dont want to consider this

  • Kumar on November 12, 2011, 11:18 GMT

    I have been seeing comments like "Tendulkar has (as of now) 48 ODI Centuries. Out of those 48, only 33 have been in a winning cause (68%)" and other bastsmen have more % than Tendulkar. Are we talking about luck factor or Team performance? If it is luck factor, then I would agree Sachin has very less luck in making his team win, when he makes a Ton. On the other hand, your team has to efficient enough to make use of the Ton made by Sachin right? Let us take the case of Ponting, when he makes a 100, I assume that Australia will have at least 200 on board? then Aussie bowlers will complete the job. so, my point is that you should consider the entire team's peformance when counting the winning %. Finally, leastwhen one person out of 11 in the team makes a century, and remaining 10 players are not making use of it, that means that the team is inefficient. I bet, if Sachin is player of Aus, then he would have had 100% winning rate. And this is applicable to each and every batsman.

  • taimur on November 12, 2011, 9:15 GMT

    @ johnathonjosephs

    You are right tendulkar's win % after centuries might be lower than the others at 68% but why dont u take the name of any other batsman who has contributed more than 33 wins?? you are also forgetting that apart from his 48 centuries he has more than 10 90+ scores of which have won india games.(couple examples india vs pak wc 2003 semi final, india vs aus cb series final #2) Please spend more time looking deeper into stats rather than looking at only the basics. And how does a batsman with a 86 strike rate over his career of 20+ years turn out to be selfish?

  • Vinay on November 12, 2011, 5:58 GMT

    Sachin is a batting great but he is also the most overrated batsman of all time. There is hardly any difference in average and overall accomplishments between him, Sangakkara, Lara and Kallis and until recently, Ponting. Gavaskar made his runs as an opener. Sehwag has too and at a stupendous strike rate. Sachin is no greater than any of these other 6 batsmen. VVS and Dravid are also very close. On current form, KP, Bell, Trott & Cook are as great too but longevity matters. In the past there were Sobers, Hutton, GS Chappell, G Pollock, Viv Richards, Alvin K and many others. Some of them had a better test batting average like Pollock and Sobers. So Indian fans, please stop idolising him. All these other greats too have stuggled against quality pace or spin at some point in their career on bowler friendly conditions just as great bowlers like McGrath and Lee have struggled on Indian wickets. It happens.

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