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/ Greg Chappell
Greg Chappell: Does India need a batting coach?
July 14, 2003
Last month, Australian batting legend Greg Chappell attended a seminar organised by the MRF Pace Foundation in Chennai for Indian coaches.
During the seminar, which Chappell described as "better than any I have attended before," the Aussie great received a call from India skipper Sourav Ganguly, asking if he would be available to help him sort out some batting problems.
Chappell's reply was in the affirmative.
"Ganguly said he would talk to the president [BCCI chief Jagmohan Dalmiya], which he did before I left India, but since then nothing has been arranged. No one has called me," Chappell told Faisal Shariff in an exclusive telephone conversation from his home in Adelaide.
So where's the hitch?
According to BCCI Media Manager Amrit Mathur, Chairman of Selectors Brijesh Patel had indicated that Coach John Wright was very keen on having Chappell over for the Indian team's camp in Bangalore in September.
"Wright is convincing everybody, but nothing has been decided as yet," Mathur said.
BCCI Treasurer Kishore Rungta rubbished the idea of Chappell coming down for the camp.
"It does not make any logic. We already have John Wright. Why would we need another batting coach? It would make more sense to have a bowling coach."
The BCCI's line of thinking is clear: Why waste money on another foreigner for batting lessons?
Another BCCI official said Sunil Gavaskar is the best batting expert to discuss batting with instead of Chappell.
But would Gavaskar want to be at the camp at all? He has already been bitten twice by the Board's approach.
Back in 1996, when he attended a camp before the World Cup, this is what happened, in his own words: 'There was no one at the airport to receive me, and when I checked out of the hotel, I paid the bills. It is not the bills, I can afford to pay the hotel's cost, but I don't know if it is proper.'
Two years later, despite the gaffe of the 1996 camp, Gavaskar kept himself free for the Indian camp before the 1999 World Cup, from August 21 to 28, 1998, waiting for a call from the Board.
It never came.
The other question is the wisdom in having someone other than the coach talk about batting.
Is it worth it?
Yes, believes Chappell.
"It is always good to get a range of ideas. No one person holds the complete wisdom on batting, bowling and fielding. Different voices saying the same thing in a different way help enormously. It could just mean something to strike a chord inside. It is sensible to get a range of views. No coach has all the answers for players."
Psychologist Sandy Gordon's sessions with the Indian players before the World Cup were one of the key instruments in India reaching the final.
But that concept is as foreign to the BCCI as John Wright.
Wright's request to have Chappell down for the camp has been severely criticised by some senior players and sections of the media.
"I think it shows a lot of courage from John's point of view to have asked me to help him. Common sense tells you that it's a clever way to go," said Chappell.
Does the fact that Ganguly approached Chappell for some batting help cast a vote in favour of Wright's calibre and ability?
When the Australians visited India in 2001, spinner Colin Miller and Shane Warne spent a good amount of time with spin legend Bishen Singh Bedi. So did New Zealand's Daniel Vettori when the Kiwis were here. Neither coach -- Australia's John Buchanan and Kiwi David Trist -- was censured.
'Anything that is good for Indian cricket, I'll do it,' is Wright's mantra.
Right right now nothing is foremost in his mind than the Australian tour, the toughest challenge in world cricket.
Chappell believes India's tour of Australia this year could be very exciting if the Indians travel Down Under with the right attitude.
"Anyone at the highest level can play the game. After that, it's all about attitude," he said.
"India has enough talent to perform well in Australia. But they must come here with an attitude different from the one that they have come with in the past.
"In the past they came here (Australia) expecting to be beaten. They came here with the attitude that things would be tough and when they were in fact tough the Indians failed to show a great deal of resilience."
He was critical about India's attitude on the New Zealand tour before the 2003 World Cup.
"Things didn't go well in New Zealand, but they seemed to give in fairly easily. If they come to Australia with that attitude then there is no chance for them. But if they come with the attitude they showed at the World Cup -- prepared to work hard and together -- then they have a great chance."
Asked whether he would accept an offer to be the batting coach of the Indian team, Chappell replied, "I can't talk about hypothetical issues, but if it came up I would consider it. Indian players are good cricketers and the country has quite a good range of quality players."
PS: News is that Ganguly will be going to Australia for a commercial shoot contrary to reports in the media that he was going to the National Academy in Adelaide to work on his batting.