Former Australian cricketer Greg Chappell’s tenure as India’s coach is often regarded as one of the most controversial chapters in Indian cricket. The infamous Chappell-Ganguly saga, factious relations between senior Indian players, and India’s group-stage exit in the 2007 ODI World Cup, made him a dark figure in the history of Indian cricket. It was under Chappell that former Indian captain Sourav Ganguly was removed from his role and dropped from the Indian team. This fetched the Australian a lot of backlash and criticism, following which Rahul Dravid was appointed as the full-time captain of the Indian cricket team.
Dravid went on to lead India in 25 Tests and 79 ODIs, with the Test Series win over West Indies and England in 2006 and 2007 respectively, being the highlights of his captaincy career. However, it was under Dravid’s captaincy that India faced shocking defeats at the 2007 World Cup, leading to a first round exit after losing to Bangladesh and Sri Lanka, which is often regarded as one of the lowest points in Indian cricket history.
Chappell opens up on Dravid’s intent as a captain
The former Indian coach opened up to present his side of the story of the Indian dressing room, during his tenure from 2005 to 2007. He revealed that Dravid was deeply invested in making India the number one ranked side and wanted the team to strive for the best.
“Dravid was really invested in India becoming the best team in the world. Sadly, not everyone in the team had the same feeling. They would rather concentrate on being in the team, because some of them were coming to the end of their careers,” said Chappell on on Cricket Life Stories Podcast.
He further mentioned that Dravid lacked support from his national teammates and also spotted some “resistance” from the senior players.
Sourav Ganguly didn’t want to work hard, says Chappel
The former Australian then opened up on the axing of Sourav Ganguly first as a captain and then from the team. “When Sourav got dropped from the team, we had a lot of attention from the players, because they realized if he can go, anyone can go,” Chappell mentioned. He expressed that the Indian team had a great run for 12 months, before Ganguly returned back to the team and things eventually changed. “The message from the players was loud and clear – ‘We don’t want change’,” said Chappell.
“He didn’t particularly want to work hard. He didn’t want to improve his cricket. He just wanted to be in the team as captain, so that he could control things,” Chappell emphasized.
The former India head coach then went on to reveal that despite BCCI offered him to take up a new contract, he decided that he didn’t need “that type of stress” and refused the offer.