Chappell opens old wounds

Former India coach says Dravid as captain did not get team’s full support

Greg Chappell with Rahul Dravid and Sourav Ganguly during his stint as India coach


Former India coach Greg Chappell has opened old wounds, claiming that some players did not give their best when Rahul Dravid was leading the national team. Had Dravid been given “ wholehearted support” by all the players, he could have gone on to become India’s most successful captain ever, says the former Australia captain.

Chappell also claimed that all the team members did not enjoy the success achieved under Dravid. He made these startling revelations in an article written for the book Rahul Dravid — Timeless Steel , which was launched in Mumbai on Wednesday.

“He was an excellent deputy, in that he gave wholehearted support without ever thinking he might be better than the incumbent, and when he got the job he was a much better captain than he will ever be credited with,” Chappell wrote, referring to the period when Dravid was deputy to Sourav Ganguly.

“Had he been given the same wholehearted support in the role that he had given others [ read Sourav Ganguly], I think the recent history of Indian cricket may have been very different and he could have gone on to become the most successful Indian captain ever,” he said.

Dravid was vice- captain to Ganguly for a long time, except for once in mid- 2005, when the latter was suspended by the ICC for a few ODIs for the team’s slow over rate in previous matches.

In pictures: Dravid immortalised in words

Incidentally, Dravid’s assuming captaincy in Ganguly’s absence, on the tour of Sri Lanka, coincided with Chappell’s first assignment as coach.

Later, when Ganguly was dropped from the team due to a lack of form, Dravid took over the reins.

Chappell and Ganguly shared a frosty relationship and they made no bones about their dislike for each other, leading to one of the most controversial phases in Indian cricket.

The Australian quit in the aftermath of India’s early elimination from the 2007 World Cup.

Chappell cites a remarkable world record winning streak by the Indian team under Dravid. He led India to 17 consecutive wins while batting second.

“To learn how to get better at chasing a target, Rahul kept asking the opposition to bat first, no matter the conditions. Under his leadership, India won nine ODIs in a row against Pakistan and England, and went on to complete a world record of 17 consecutive wins batting second,” wrote Chappell.

“A similar approach to Test cricket brought about India’s first overseas victory in the West Indies for 35 years and a first ever Test victory in South Africa, which could have been turned into a series win if the team had batted better in the second innings in the final Test in Cape Town.” Chappell was referring to India’s 1- 0 Test series victory in the Caribbean in 2006 followed by their maiden win in the first Test in Johannesburg in 2006- 07.

India lost the next two matches and the series to South Africa.

Chappell unashamedly admits that he liked Dravid. “Men don’t say these things, but I have a genuine affection for Rahul Dravid,” he wrote in the article.

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