It would be an understatement to say that the autobiography of India’s greatest cricketer ever would create waves, and a sneak peek into that was delivered on Monday when a small excerpt from Sachin Tendulkar’s ‘Playing It My Way’ sent shockwaves among cricket fans and fraternity.
“Chappell wanted to replace me with [Rahul] Dravid as India captain in 2007,” Tendulkar writes, while calling the controversial former India coach as “ringmaster”.
Chappell’s estranged relationship with Indian players and the BCCI is not unknown, but coming from a man who gets the attention of almost every one in a country of more than 1.2 billion and one who never put his feelings into words before November 16, 2013, will be news any day.
“Together, we could control Indian cricket for years”, Tendulkar writes about the Australian telling him during a visit to his home in Mumbai, while offering “help in taking over the reins of the side” from Dravid.
And as expected reactions from the biggest names in Indian cricket followed Tendulkar’s revelations.
“I haven’t really read the excerpts of that book. Also I am not privy to any private conversation between two individuals. I have not heard about this before and I have no idea what happened and I would not want to make any comment,” Dravid said.
“It’s been a long time and it does not make much of a difference to me now. Not looking forward towards reading this [Chappell controversy] but yes anything that Sachin writes on batsmanship and things like what made him the best in the world. I am more interested in reading those parts.”
“I really don’t want to go back to that period, you have seen it in the results. [It was] one of worst phases of Indian cricket and worst phase a cricketer can go through, especially someone like me. There were lies after lies and six months later he wanted Rahul removed and Sachin as captain. This goes on to show how the man went about his job.
“When I came back to the team [after the 2007 World Cup], I had spoken to Dravid about that much later and told him that these were the things going on. He said he knew it all but ‘couldn’t control Greg’.”
Asked to throw some light on Tendulkar claiming in his book that Chappell once told him “I have got the job because of Sourav but that did not mean he was going to do favours to Sourav for the rest of his life”, Ganguly asked, “Is it? “I haven’t heard about that before. This must be closed door discussion between Chappell and Sachin. But I presume it is true and I think it is absolutely ridiculous.
“I am happy to see the way Tendulkar has written the book. Today he has done a lot of help to Indian cricket and hopefully it is an eye-opener to all. Happy that Sachin has written about true facts of that period,” he said.
“I am happy that someone of Sachin’s credibility has spoken about it. I wish someday I could tell my side of the story,” Ganguly said.
I think at the end of the day the players have to go out there and do their bit. I don’t think it’s fair to blame the coach. Maybe if you think the coach has given them the wrong work ethic or the coach has given wrong tactical advice, then yes you could possibly say that the coach is to be blamed. But at the end of the day the coach is on the sidelines while the guys out on the field have a job to do.
I don’t think it’s right to blame the coach entirely for the debacle of 2007 World Cup.
Dravid has enormous respect for Greg Chappell for the kind of cricket that he played, the batting that he did; and he would have been one of his idols, I would imagine; and if what Sachin says is correct, then I think the man who would be most disappointed is Dravid.
But Greg is wrong in thinking that he could have controlled cricket in India with Sachin,” Gavaskar told a TV channel.
“Chappell destroyed Indian cricket to such an extent that it required at least 3 years to again get back on track. The worst part was some players in that team, who sucked upto the coach and would supply selective misinformation creating bigger rifts.
“There were seven guys that he wanted to get rid of. Sourav was his primary target followed by myself, Virender Sehwag, Ashish Nehra, Zaheer Khan and Yuvraj Singh. He was supposed to take India to the next level in international cricket. But during that phase, there was one point of time, we were playing like U-14s.”