Former India coach Greg Chappell says his relations with Sachin Tendulkar soured after the Australian had asked the Indian cricket icon to bat down the order at the 2007 World Cup.
The 66-year-old Chappell’s statement comes a few months after Tendulkar launched a scathing attack on the former Australia captain by referring to him as a “ringmaster”” in his autobiography, ‘Playing It My Way’.
In an episode of ‘Cricket Legends’, aired on Fox Sports across Australia, Chappell said that the reason for their fallout was him suggesting that Tendulkar bat down the order during the tournament in the Caribbean.
“I expected, I thought, that he would want to do what was right for the team. But he really wanted to bat where he wanted to bat and that was a real gulf between us,” Chappell said on the show.
India had a disastrous outing in the mega-event, getting knocked out in the first round itself. Chappell claimed that Tendulkar, now 41, initially agreed to his proposal, but later changed his mind.
“He preferred to open the batting … But in the World Cup in the West Indies, we needed him to bat down the order. That was where our problems were, we had other players who could bat at the top of the order.
“He agreed to it initially, but then he recanted and said he didn’t want to do it. I forced him to do it and, from that point onwards, he didn’t want to work with me again. In hindsight, I probably would have found a different solution.”
Tendulkar had, in his book, revealed that Chappell wanted him to replace Rahul Dravid just before the 2007 World Cup.
“Just months before the World Cup, Chappell had come to see me at home and, to my dismay, suggested that I should take over the captaincy from Rahul Dravid,” Tendulkar wrote.
Chappell also launched a veiled attack on Ganguly without naming the former India skipper. “The challenge for Indian cricket was and probably always will be is that it is more important (for the players) to be in the team than to be in the best team in the world,” Chappell said.
“Once they have been there for a while, they are quite happy just to keep their place in the side. What I was trying to encourage was for them all to continue getting better. We made changes that were quite successful but in the process it had created some problems particularly for me in relation to certain players.
“In the process we had dropped off a captain (Ganguly) along the way and that set a chain going. He (Ganguly) signed off on the things he needed to do to stay in the team, but then never actually did what he had promised,” he added.