'The 2007 World Cup is wide open'
One has arguably the toughest job in international cricket, coaching the Indian cricket team, and the other believes the coach is what takes you to the ground, but they both agree on one thing - that the 2007 World Cup is the most open yet. For the latest episode of a programme jointly produced by Cricinfo and Times Now, an Indian television channel, Ian Chappell and Greg Chappell again came together to talk cricket.
"Three weeks ago this World Cup was shaping up as a very one-sided contest in which you could basically, before a ball was bowled, say that Australia, unless they do something really unbelievably stupid or some team actually happens to play a blinder in the knock-out stage, were going to win," said Ian. "And there was a chance that Australia were going to win the same way as they won the last two. Now you've got a wide-open World Cup, which is terrific for the game of cricket."
Greg said that there were seven or eight teams that could win the World Cup. "Obviously, the teams that get to the semi-finals will be good teams, and then it becomes a new tournament. Even Australia, at full strength, going into the World Cup, can't be guaranteed to win. One-day cricket by its nature...one team can beat any other team. On a day where the toss could be important, on a wicket that might give some help to the bowlers in the morning, there is an element of luck attached to it. I think it's shaping up to be a fairly even tournament."
Both Ian and Greg also discussed the role of the coach in today's context. Greg felt the coach was part of the structure of a team, and believed the nucleus of the team should ideally be based on balance. "You need a blend of personalities in the team as well as a blend of styles of cricketer. You can have certain types of personalities, but you can't have too many of them," he said. "You don't want all slow-thinking, slow-moving cricketers in a team, but you can have some. You can have some really creative players and risk-takers, but you don't want eleven of them. You want a balance and a blend of all these different things and that's where the selection process is the more critical than anything else."
Ian, who has never attempted coaching - "watching that much cricket would drive me crazy" - built on the example of people like John Wright and Greg coming to India, saying: "If they could, as coaches, get the right side selected and on the field for India every time they go out, then they've just increased their chances of having much more success as a coach. To me, if you can achieve that as a coach...if you can get the guys who are selecting the team to get the right team on the field, and then have it captained by the right guy, then you've had quite an influence on the side."
Greg, who said the coach was always emotionally involved with his players, stressed on a very important factor, that of peer leadership. "The peer interaction in any team is critical, and again, the peer leadership, not just the captain, but senior and junior players, can also be part of that leadership group. You need the support structure around to work out what the problems an individual is having. The work that Ian Frazier and Greg King do [with India] is very important in the development of young players with the time and effort they put in."
In another relaxed conversation, moderated by Sanjay Manjrekar, the Chappell brothers carefully dissect every aspect of the limited overs game. For all those priceless insights, watch the videos, or listen to the audio.