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A day after Sachin bouncer...
Greg goes
Cites ‘family and personal reasons’ for not seeking renewal of contract

Mumbai, April 4
Greg Chappell’s 22-month tempestuous tenure as India’s cricket coach ended today when he resigned after a bitter undeclared war of words with senior players, including an anguished Sachin Tendulkar who said he had been “shattered” by his criticism.

Under fire after India’s shocking exit from the World Cup, the feisty Australian caved in only 26 days before his contract was due to end and e-mailed his resignation to the BCCI whose working committee meets here from Friday for a post-mortem of the team’s poor showing.

In the days preceding his resignation, Chappell, speaking under the cover of “sources” close to him, attacked senior players for their attitude and accused them of behaving like “mafia” against junior players.

Nevertheless, in his resignation letter he expressed gratitude to the players “with whom I have worked in this time for the challenges that they have presented me with”. He had tried to meet these challenges in a “professional, methodical and interesting way”, he said.

The resignation came hours after Tendulkar said in newspaper interviews that accusations regarding the attitude of senior players had “hurt them the most”.

“I have given my heart and my soul for 17 years. No coach had mentioned even in passing that my attitude was not correct. Cricket has been my life for all these years and will always be”, Tendulkar said. BCCI president Sharad Pawar told reporters that Chappell had telephoned him and sent him a letter to say that he would not seek an extension of his contract which was due to expire at the end of this month. He was appointed coach in June 2005.

The 58-year-old former Australian captain had cited family and personal reasons for taking the decision, Pawar said.

Chappell will meet Pawar in Mumbai on Friday and also present his report on India’s disastrous World Cup campaign to a meeting of Board office-bearers to which seven former captains have also been invited.

India’s most controversial coach, Chappell succeeded the genial New Zealander John Wright and his tenure has been marked by a few highs and plenty of lows. The Indian team won 32 of the 62 ODIs and 7 of the 18 Tests with Chappell as the coach.

Chappell brought with him controversial support staff like bio-mechanist Ian Frazer who is also blamed for some of the troubles of the team. But in his resignation letter the coach made special mention of the efforts of Frazer and other support staff.

Chappell said, “The people of India deserve a special mention as they are the ones whose attention, enthusiasm and love and support drive the great game, and business, of cricket in this country, and around the world.” “I thank them all, especially those who have written to me and the thousands who have gone out of their way to come up to me with well wishes,” he said in the resignation letter.

In his letter, Chappell also said that he was grateful for the opportunity given to him “to extend my knowledge and awareness of this region and for the wonderful friends that I have made here.” “I look forward to continuing my contact with India in the coming years and I wish Indian cricket and all those involved with it much joy and success in the future”, he said.

Chappell’s resignation ended weeks of speculation on the fate of the Australian following the World Cup fiasco.

Hurt by Chappell’s allegations, senior players also on the condition of anonymity, had said that Chappell was trying to put the entire blame for the World Cup debacle on the team.

They had also said they would hit back if the Board heard their side of the story.

The former Australian took over as the coach amid a lot of hype and after a reasonably good start, things began to go wrong for the team with a string of defeats and a public spat with former captain Sourav Ganguly which made headlines. — PTI

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News Analysis
Greg read the writing on the wall
Abhijit Chatterjee

Greg Chappell probably read the writing on the wall. He knew that nobody in India, repeat nobody, can deride cricket icon Sachin Tendulkar and then hope to be pardoned either by the cricket loving public or for that matter the powers that be that run the BCCI and continue as coach of the Indian team.

Therefore, what he did on Wednesday was along expected lines. If he had not put in his papers then it was quite likely that the BCCI would have been forced to not extend his contract.

Indian cricket is at the crossroad. The disaster in the World Cup has finally made the BCCI sit up and think of drastic action. The BCCI must act, and do so immediately, if Indian cricket is to be put back on the rails. And to do this it will probably have to take some very hard decisions.

A special meeting of the BCCI working committee has been convened in Mumbai for Friday and Saturday where the mandarins who run the board will decided the future course of Indian cricket. And to help them in this endeavour they have summoned former Indian captains to ask them what should be done to rejuvenate Indian cricket.

But the moot question is: how much clout will these former captains have at the meeting? Will the officials who run the board just listen to the captains and then do something to translate their vision of Indian cricket on to the field or will the captains be just heard and the officials do what what they want to do.

But Chappell has done a good turn, both to himself and the board. Now that Chappell has put in his papers the board will have to look for a new man for the job. There is one school of thought which is of the view that former coach John Wright should be recalled because they feel that the team prospered under him. During the five years that the New Zealander was at the helm of affairs, India did pull off some great wins. This school argues that players had a very good relation with Wright and this augured well for Indian cricket.

There is another school of thought who want a former Indian cricketer like Mohinder Amarnath (who was also interviewed along with Greg Chappell when the slot of Indian coach became vacant) should be entrusted with the task of coaching the team. Besides Amarnath, former players like Sandeep Patil, Venkatesh Prasad as also Madan Lal have good credentials for the job. Let’s wait and see which way the board decides? Will it be a foreign coach or an Indian coach.

There is yet another group of board officials who want the Indian team to have a cricket manager instead of a cricket coach. They say that when a player is selected for national duty he knows what is expected of him. All he needs is motivation and counselling. And this could be done very well by the cricket manager. In this connection the name of Sunil Gavaskar is making the rounds.

Over the past couple of days Greg Chappell had been playing to the galleries of the Indian public by putting the blame of the Indian defeats in the World Cup on the senior players. He has said that the senior players had an attitude problem pulling the team in different directions.

Ever since Chappell had taken over as cricket coach the Indian team has not been short of controversies. First it was his famous spat with the then skipper Sourav Ganguly. Then came the leaks that players where not playing according to his laid down plans. And now this talk of groupism in the team.

The board should have acted against the coach much earlier. He has been getting away with nearly everything in the past.

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