An Honest Chappie And the Foreign Way

47 Comments

Aaah. We get it at last. It’s the Indians who are at fault. They do not let Greg Chappell be honest. If this was in Australia, he could accuse the team captain of faking injury and happily insinuate that he clings onto his spot because he needs the money. Noone would ask for proof of his honest attempts at slander. It’s only in this blasted country that people take such things so seriously.

In an exclusive interview to CNN-IBN titled “I can’t be honest in India”, Greg Chappell lets his hair down and tells us his side of the story.

I think that’s mainly the difference. Every word, every nuance is treated so much more un-really in this country. In Australia you would say something and it would make a ripple. Here you say something and it’s a tsunami.

Indeed. Down under, you can get away with smacking a naked man on his bottom with a bat and here you cannot even tend to your injured middle finger, that keeps somehow flipping up like an organ on a Viagra overdose, without offending the natives.

Wait there is more. Not only is he in his own words, “consistent and constant”, he also has a soft side.

Anuradha SenGupta: Do you have a soft side?

Greg Chappell: This is my soft side. The great thing about this job for me is that I am emotionally involved. And if I am not emotionally involved then I don’t think I can do the job.

Imagine. If this was his soft side, how hard would his other side be. Greg Chappell then goes on to reveal other moments of great vulnerability when “he woke up in the middle of middle of the night with sweat running off his forehead, sort of sitting bolt upright in the bed, thinking it was real”. At that moment I swear I made a connection with Greg having had many such moments in my teenage years. Especially when “Dhak dhak karne laga” was Superhit No 1 on Superhit Muqabla.

Of course he has regrets.

I don’t have a lot of time to try and mould the team, build the team. The group that I inherited had some senior players and we brought some younger players…sort of trying to un-bake a cake and then try to put it back together again.

If only the man had more time than the two years he has got with the Indian team. If only he could have met Sourav earlier and advised him not to play badminton with Dona when he should be practising the hook shot. If only he could have told Yuvraj not to go for Kim Sharma and instead throw in his lot with Preeti Jangiani. If only he had changed Suresh Raina’s diapers.

If only he had.

India’s cricket team would then have been a shoo-in for the World Cup.

Not that there is anything to fear. The pitches in the West Indies will be low and slow —as we experienced seven months ago. Ideal for our flat track bullies.

But wait.[link via BongoPondit]

But contrary to what the Indian think-tank had faced, a lot of water has flown under the bridge in the last seven months and will continue to do so for the next two.

There are reports that some of the venues have freshly laid pitches which are likely to help the seamers. Those that haven’t been relaid, have been worked upon under the directions of Andy Atkinson, the International Cricket Council’s pitch expert.

Not one to take any chances, Cricket Australia recently packed off their team’s assistant coach for a 10-day tour of the venues where the Aussies are likely to play after the first round.

Dene Hills, the man on the job, met and spoke to officials incharge, including former pacer Andy Roberts.

Roberts, the chief curator at Antigua, has said that the playing strips will have more bounce and carry for the pacers and may offer little help to the spinners, which of course is directly opposite to what the Indian think tank presupposes.

Aah well. Who cares. At least not Niranjan Shah, Sharad Pawar’s efficient man Friday.

It is a scenario in which the Indian board should swing into action and send an official on a fact-finding mission. This will only ensure that the team’s preparation is heading in the right direction. But the suggestion was taken with a pinch of salt by board secretary Niranjan Shah yesterday.

“This is the Australian and American way of doing things, it is not meant for us,” said Shah. “Our team had gone not very long ago and they are well versed with the conditions. I don’t think it’ll make a big difference. The tracks will be somewhat similar to what we saw at Chennai on Saturday.”

Yes Mr. Shah. Being prepared, like spring-break and wet T-shirt contests, is the Australian and American way of doing things.

It’s not for us.

[Postscript: Tom Moody, Sri Lanka’s Austalian coach, is in the West Indies inspecting pitches.]

[Acknowledgements: Dravid-Chappell picture courtesy the Ganguly community on Orkut. ]

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47 thoughts on “An Honest Chappie And the Foreign Way

  1. Don’t pick on the poor man. Bechara has been hurt and pilloried by the Indian public “tsunami” of opprobrium while all he wanted was two years of moulding the team into a lean mean fighting machine full of young blood following “the process”. Oh wait. Two years is not enough. Can you incite a revolution in two years? Can you build a Taj Mahal in two years? No these things take a lot of time, especially when they also cost thousands of dollars a year.

    “The process” is, as the name suggests, a process. The wonderful things about it is that since it is a process, there can never be an end to it. because in that case it ceases to be a process doesn’t it? So it is only right that we continue paying Greg Chappell his fat paycheck till he wants to, no matter how many years he wants, because there is never really going be a measurable result. It will always be a process.

    Ad we are actually questioning this great man? Aww, c’mon he is a softie at heart. He sweats just like the rest of us, except that he does it in fear of losing his sinecure while we sweat thinking of the next change in the batting order that he will experiment with.

    Think of the problems he is going through just for the sake of the team? He is forced to carry out a purge of the team, his finger gets injured in Kolkata, he has to break cameras at airports because they are thrust at him, he gets slapped by some Oriya guy, and people write shit about him in web sites! He should get paid more. he is so dedicated that f he is paid more, I can bet he will be ready to get slapped any number of times! Let’s raise some money and give him that offer. I will be the first to contribute!

    As for Niranjan Shah, he seems to e following the illustrious footsteps of previously senile BCCI office workers like Jaywant Lele, Raj Singh Dungarpur, and IS Bindra. Someone should learn from him how to make an about turn. Having supported the Chappell Way all this while, now he rails against experimentation. This is what he said on December 8th (http://www.rediff.com/cricket/2006/dec/08cinter.htm):

    Q: Do you think too many experiments by Greg Chappell have had a wrong effect on the performance as well as morale of the Indian team?

    Ans: I wouldn’t like to comment on what you call experiments by the coach. He might be compelled to do so by the prevailing circumstances. He is a highly experienced player himself. So whatever he has been doing, including changes in the batting order as well as the team combination, must obviously for the good of the Indian side.

    This is what he said yesterday (http://www.dnaindia.com/report.asp?NewsID=1076744):

    “The BCCI believes the management should have experimented in the fourth match, only if the series had been sealed in the third. Experiments should not be done at the cost of winning…”

    And all this AFTER Chappell’s immortal comments (which should be tattooed on his ass for all eternity): “Winning or losing does not matter. What matters is the process.”

  2. kya yaar saare Bengali itne senti kyun ho jaate hain Ganguly jab bhi question mein hota hai to!! I mean u guys are sensible and intelligent ppl. with whom one can expect to have a gud intellectual discussion on most of the topics…but wen it comes to Ganguly , U guys seem to loose all reason…..

  3. @Anonymous

    Ganguly ka naam kisne liya? At best in Arnab’s post there was a tangential reference to him. The post was about Chappell and Niranjan Shah. Lagta hai aapke man mein Ganguly ghoom raha hai, aur Bangali log bhi. Isiliye aapko har jegeh Ganguly dikhai de raha hai.

    Hum Bangali to bas senti bante hain lekin aap to hosh kho baithe hain. Pata nahin reason kisne “loose” (sic) kiya hai.

    One more thing. Remaining anonymous is a good idea when you want to insult a whole community together. Since you have deprived us the pleasure of knowing your name, we “Bangalis” are not in a position to know your ethnicity. But you can still take solace in the fact that whatever be your ethnicity, we “Bangalis” will not relaliate in kind by making sweeping generalizations about yours. Isiliye hum “sensible and intelligent” hain.

    Aur isiliye humey ‘Anonymous’ ke peeeche chhupna nahin padta hai.

  4. How dare you question the methods of the GREAT Guru Greg?

    After all , he has been successful in whatever he has done for the team– creating a disjointed shaky team out of a team with the maximum potential in the world, doing away with the most successful captain and replacing him with a ‘yes man’, messing up the career of a good swing bowler by trying to make him an allrounder, etc.

    And by the way, his greatest supporter More takes the cake!! After all, his brainwave created the improvement(!) in Ganguly and Zaheer.

    Way to go Guru Greg. He may get the Bharat Ratna someday with More getting at least a Padma Bhushan!!!

    What say Arnab??

  5. Thanks for not “relaliating”!! Even I can point out the typos..but thats not the point u see…..par yaar maano chahe na maano sach bol raha hun main! Kabhi thande dimaag se sochna…. Bura laga to sorry…par phir bhi sochna kabhi 🙂

  6. Dunno if its only been with me, but I’ve heard this nonsense about how Guru Greg’s master plan to drop Ganguly has actually helped him, so many times that it now has started sounding credible a la Goebbels!

  7. @Shan
    Excellent Reply!!!!

    @Anonymous
    Sunbe thande dimaag wale paagali!!
    Tu bas itna samajh le ke ganguly hamara bhai jaisa hai…aur bhaio ke beech me kabhi mat aanaa!!
    Aur tu har baar galat kaam karke “sorry” bolta hai…But actually you are not sorry for anything you do.

  8. hehe!! aapka gussa laazmi hai huzoor!! And not at all unexpected :P…main hota kaun hun bhrata prem ke beech mein taang adane wala…maafi sarkaar 🙂

  9. bas zara ye soch ke bura lagta hai ki bhaaichara Ganguly tak hi kyun seemit rakhte hain aap log! baaki team itni bhi buri nahi hai ki ek aadmi pe hi dhyan de aur baaki sabki burai karein! sochiyega zarur

  10. @ anonymous: no really, you don’t say !!? if anyone were having a ‘gud intellectual’ conversation with you, looks like it would have been a one way traffic from the other party involved 🙂

  11. @Anonymous
    hum “pehle aap” wale tehzeeb be yakeen karte hai..Pehle aap log ganguly ko apna bhai maniye ; uske baad hum team ke baaki logo se bhaichaara karenge.
    Aap log hamare khilaaf “parochial politics” karte ho, har kshetra me hamare ladko ke saath gandhe rajneet karte ho..aur uske badle me yeh chahte ho ke hum sabse bhaichaara rakhe. Bangali logo ne desh ke liye bahut kuchh kiya, lekin usske badle me hum logo ko mila to sirf dwesh aur kshetriyata ki gandhi rajneeti.
    Lekin ab aur nahi!
    Doodh maangoge to kheeer denge,,,
    rajneeti karoge to cheeer denge!!!

  12. I am not a Bengali and I am a Ganguly supporter.
    I am still clueless about why Ganguly was ‘rested’ in the thrird ODI.
    I am sick of this ‘experiment’ thing.
    I am sick of this young blood and new team, just win the match you are playing today.
    I am sick of ass lickers bossing over players.
    I am sick of seeing Agarkar in the team.
    I am sick of Dravid giving diplomatic answers.

  13. Actually I do agree with Anonymous to some extent. I have come across this blog some time back and find Arnab’s writings extremely entertaining & stimulating and have been following the same quite regularly, though this is the first time I’ve replied.

    However having said that, I can’t help but vocalize my observation on the sentiments generated by Arnab and most responders regarding the whole Ganguly episode; what’s more I cant help but conclude that it’s more of the Bengali Connection than anything else.

    Come on, I’ve been an ardent Indian Cricket fan and have always been a great fan of Sourav. In fact there was a time when I would switch off the television in total disgust when Sourav and Sachin got out early, especially in a run chase (couldn’t bear to see the Indian team’s plight).

    But keeping Greg and his whole attitude aside, to be fair to Ganguly he did deserve a break; his performance was getting a bit more on the pathetic side (like a lot many guys in the current team including Sachin that have still managed to “survive” their place in the team in spite of poor form). I totally agree that the way he was handled was wrong, but if you reflect with an unbiased mind his performance leading to him being dropped was nothing he himself would’ve been proud of.

    Anyways I’m glad he’s back…sincerely hope he performs well, the talent is definitely there, he just needs some luck (and ofcourse he needs to improve on the fitness part)

  14. @suarts

    The point is just that. Ganguly was treated differently from the others. We would not have been as angry if others were dropped as well. But he was dropped and lies written about him. It was a personal vendetta. And now that he’s back, Chappell is actually taking credit for that?

    This is what was in Cricinfo and The Hindu today:

    “I look at it as one of my success stories”, Chappell said in an interview to The Hindu. “He has resurrected his batting and could play another three years for India, which is fantastic. The only way he could address certain issues was to spend some time away reassessing all of his goals and ambitions. Somebody had to tell him that.”

    Chappell’s success stories! Hah!

    What a bastard!

  15. Chappell has now officially claimed fatherhood for Ganguly’s success. The nerve of the man!Well, anyway, for aspiring managers out there, here’s the Chappel way to motivate an employee – accuse him of being a liar, a lazy bum and try to ruin his reputation.He’d then obviously perform better.

    So, does Chappell want to claim fatherhood for Suresh Raina’s spectacular failure in International scene, MS Dhoni’s relapse into mediocrity, Rahul Dravid’s descent from God batsman to mere mortal, a thousand defeats against a, hold your breath, West Indies team etc… you bet not.
    Having said that, I cannot understand why this site would *hint*(only hint, not explicitly state) that Dravid is an ambitious captain who doesnt want to cede territory(even if that is detrimental to the team) whereas Ganguly was this super captain who never thought selfishly and never ruined anyone’s career, and never made mistakes, and even if he did, it was in the interest of the team. Like, Gangs never thought about self-preservation.
    Obviously, it is alright to take potshots at Dravid but Ganguly is this Gandhiji-cum-SubashBose of Indian cricket. If I had Arnab’s writing skills, I could write a similar post on ‘Greatbong’s whitewash of Ganguly’, similar to Cricinfo’s whitewash of Dravid – alas, I dont, and therein lies the rub for me.

  16. Raj is right. Hear what Guru Greg has to say about Sourav’s comeback in his interview to The Hindu: “I look at it as one of my success stories. He has resurrected his batting and could play another three years for India, which is fantastic. The only way he could address certain issues was to spend time away reassessing all of his goals (sic) and ambitions. Somebody had to tell him that.”

    No doubt, the person given the onerous job of telling Sourav was Guru Greg. By vilifying him as an injury-faker, money-minded fucker, a has-been and a bad influence on the team. And a spineless media bought it all, hook, line and sinker, with amazing amnesia of the fact that if the same Sourav was India’s most successful captain and he couldn’t also be, at the same time, an injury-faker, a money-minded fucker, a bad influence, etc.

    What Greg is now trying to do is to pass off eating crow as gourmet delight. Come to think of it, the options have been closed for him as far as Sourav is concerned. He came back into the team not because of him, but despite him, thanks to Vengsarkar and changed political alignments in India’s cricketing establishment. Now Vengsarkar has gone a step further and given an interview to PTI saying that Sourav will open for India in the World Cup.

    The irony of Guru Greg now seeking to ride Sourav’s comeback is stunning.

  17. Hi folks,

    Re: Ganguly: I echo suarts views. I was & am a big fan of Ganguly. I am especially impressed at how he has comeback and how strong he is mentally. I think he deserves the credit for coming back as well as he has.

    However, there was a need for him to take a break. Just like Zaheer had to take one and now Veeru & Pathan are as well. Hopefully these two come back as strongly as Ganguly & Zaheer did.

    Unfortunately, the issue of giving Ganguly a break was not well handled by everyone involved: Chappell, Ganguly, Dalmiya & BCCI, the media, etc. Everyone seemed to take it personally and have a very strong view. It needed to be handled better but it wasnt. What is important as Indian cricket fans is to move on and try to leave that incident behind.

    Re: Greg Chappell — he is like any other coach before him. He has good qualities and bad ones as well. I cringed when a lot of people thought he was a genius when we were on a win streak in early 2006. It was the usual putting winners on a pedestal stuff. And I cringe now as he is blamed for every loss. Again the Hero ya Zero mentality.

    He is certainly fair game for criticism but it would make more sense if the criticism was balanced. If opinions and criticism come from being hurt, then the comments really lose validity.

    As a Maharashtrian and being a big Tendulkar fan I am certainly feeling let down by his performances and yet find myself defending him. I used to respond emotionally rather than rationally. So I understand where you guys are coming from.

    Now, I realize that some of the criticism about Tendulkar is fair and accurate, but a large percentage of the comments/criticism is inaccurate, biased and unfair. It seems the in vogue thing to do. This results in me wanting to dismiss the applicable criticism but its important not to.

    I hope that you folks can reassess and perhaps be more balanced in your criticism.

    Cheers!

  18. Kiran More takes credit:

    The former India stumper said the process put in place during his tenure as selector was bearing dividends now, as evident in the emergence of players such as Robin Uthappa and Dinesh Kaarthik.

    “What you are seeing now is the process we had started. We gave the chance at Indore (against England) to Uthappa and Kaarthik and they are showing their worth now,” More said.

    “That’s the process we set forth, but unfortunately it got criticised in the media as excessive experimentation. Now other teams are following it,” More said

    I tell you, its all in the process.

    Ofcourse, the failures of Sehwag, Raina & Kaif and the inexplicable loss of Pathan had nothing to do with the processes. These blokes merely failed to imbibe and become one with the processes.

  19. As much as I dislike Chappell Ways, I think he is right when he says that It is hard to be give your honest opinion in India. After all how many Indians will accept it If he were to say that Sachin Tendulkar should take a break from cricket.

  20. Launde – Would you mind doing similar Analysis for Bhagwan Sri Sachin Tendulkar Ji Maharaj in Test Cricket ? Did you know that those who want him dropped are basically talking about his mostly test cricket. No wonder Mr. rediff didn’t do any analysis on his test cricket performance.

  21. @Anonymous: Thanks for pointing out what you did. You proved it, for yet another time, that Ganguly was, is and will be (for some time) inseparable from Indian Cricket. Whenever there’s a discussion about Indian cricket, people subconsciously feel that the discussion is about Ganguly’s unfair omission. His omision was so unfair that even for people like you who feel it was justified, there cannot be a discussion where that issue is not brought up. That’s why you brought up Ganguly’s name when the post was on a totally separate matter.

  22. What?
    Niranjan Shah thinks that going to West Indies is a waste of time!
    Ah! Dem beaches!
    Ah! Dem gurls in itsy-bitsy teeny-weeny yella polka dotted bikini!
    Ah! Dem rum punches!
    To say nothin’ of dem drugs an’ all…….

    Any idiot can go and have a look-see at the pitches.
    Even me. (W.G. Grace, the God of cricket knows that I am as cricket-challenged as any baseball fan, not that I know baseball either)
    Anyway, I am ready to go to WI. Yes, thank you, I do have a sexy slinky bikini. I know I would enjoy downing a bacardi or two on the beach.

    But if the BJP gets to hear of it, I am afraid that my candidature is going to be shoved aside by one Rahul Mahajan.

    After all, he can check out the drug scene better than me.

  23. @ launda…
    i cannot agree with u more… infact, the return of the holy trinity bodes tremendous things for our world cup hopes.. (inspite of guru greg’s best efforts)… i think sachin has a lot of cricket left in him… and he is god… in fact sambit bal has been eating a lot of black flying creatures recently… after ganguly’s return in s africa, he turned his guns on tendulkar… maybe now he shud pcik raina or some more predictable failure…

  24. @Swati

    You need company for the WI trip? Bacardi guzzling I already do very well. And the ” sexy slinky bikini” bit makes it all the more alluring. 😉 🙂

    We can always inspect some pitches between pitchers of Rum and coconut water!

  25. My dear dear Shan,
    please allow me to clear a minor misconception.
    It is the bikini that is sexy-and-slinky.
    NOT ME.

    I resemble the second letter in the above line.

    Er– are you still game for WI trip?

    Please, please — tell me that would rather go with me than with R. Mahajan (if you remember what happened to that Bibek/Vivek/Vicky chap).

  26. @Shan: We have means and ends problem here. GC is all about the means and not about the ends. Which once you look at it from a philosophical viewpoint, does make some sort of sense.

    @Anonymous: No need to reply to you. Simply because much better replies have already been given.

    @Anirban: More and Chappell should share it…More gets the Bharat and Chappell the Ratna.

    @Nilesh: Indeed that is the new spin. Of course it does not explain the canards circulated against SG. Nor does it account for the real reason SG came back: because the Rainas and the Venugopals were wetting themselves at the crease. Even if they had been getting the odd 30/40 SG would never have been back. Ergo, “dere” was no master plan Herr Fuhrer…

    @An Ideal Boy: Are you sick of the process?

    @Suarts: Indeed. It is because of the Bengali connection. Frankly I have repeated why I support SG many times, over many posts and I do not feel the need to repeat them here. Think what you must.

    Incidentally FYI my favourite Indian batsman is still a certain Mohz Azharuddin.

    @Raj: I never said Ganguly never made mistakes. Or that he was perfect. But he made less mistakes than those who were sought to replace him. And Cricinfo is beholden to Dravid for quotes, inside stories etc and did not get it from SG (something they themselves said). I on the other hand neither get free coupons at SG’s restaurant nor do I expect them. Which is why even with your considerable skills, you wont be able to do to me what I do to Cricinfo. Lack of motive as Perry Mason would say.

    @Rani: It is stunning. And also read Anand Vasu’s eulogy to the glorious oldies in todays Cricinfo….and cast your mind back to those days when he pilloried SG for not leaving when everyone wanted him to. I am sure that was all part of this ploy to stir SG back to his old tigerlike state.

    @Suyog: Which is?

    @Pratik: Okay. I agree to that. I dont know where SRT is coming into the picture. This post has nothing to do with him.

    @Mr. V: That man—More. Uff I tell you. Becoming “one with the force”…I visualize Raina batting and Greg’s disembodied voice saying “Close your eyes, feel the process”.

    @Sanjay: Yes I agree with him on that point too.

    @Launda: Forgive me dear sir, but I nowhere made any reference to Sachin Tendulkar. Did you even bother reading what I wrote?

    @Swati: Sexy slinky bikini ! Dont let dada see you in it. His old weaknesses may all come flying back. Remember Dada does have a thing for women of substance.

  27. @Swati

    Ahem…I am a gentleman so cannot renege on my offer. However, I might need a couple more pitchers of rum to accept the contrast between the sexy slinky bikini and you.

    And I have heard that having many drinks is a surefire way of making the woman next to you beautiful. 😉

  28. @Shan: You will need more than mere rum. You need absolute alcohol, drunk neat. As a loving brother, I can afford to be unchivalrous and dead honest…

    But what the hell, WI may in itself be worth it.

  29. @ Sayon
    Must you deprive me of a sober travelling companion?
    @ gb
    Never thought that your blog would be used to plan holidays of such nature?
    @ Shan
    Thank you. Gentlemen are very hard to come by.
    That Sayon is no gentleman. He is a brother, a creature somewhat very low down on the ethical and evolutionary scale.

  30. @greatbong. Looking forward to more balanced criticism then. 🙂

    The reference to SRT was just to point out that there are parallels (media hype, experts weighing in with theories & folks with agendas) with what happened to Ganguly when he was dropped.

    The overall trend among Indian cricket fans seems to be holler when your hero does well and bash on the other players/coach who are perceived to be in the opposite camp. And of course the “other” camp and fans do the same thing when the situation is reversed.

    I think it would serve Indian cricket better if we were careful & balanced when passing judgement on players/coaches regardless of whether they are our heros or not.

    Cheers!

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