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Chappell refuses to be taunted

October 06, 2006 22:45 IST

India cricket coach Greg Chappell refused to respond to former all-rounder Ravi Shastri's criticism of the way the team management has been functioning of late, saying everyone is entitled to his opinion.

"I don't know what he said, but everyone is entitled to his opinion," the former Australia captain told reporters at a function to launch the Indian edition of his well-received book The Making of Champions in Mumbai on Friday evening.

Shastri had hit out at India captain Rahul Dravid in a recent article, saying the latter should start calling the shots on things like deciding the team's batting order, and not leave it to Chappell.

Chappell also got support at the function from top Indian cricket board functionary Raj Singh Dungapur, who praised his coaching, saying he is on the right path vis-a-vis the Indian team.

"His policy that all the players in the 14 are good enough to be in the 11 is good and it boosts competition," Dungarpur said.

"Because of this policy people like S Sreesanth and [Suresh] Raina have got their chances to prove themselves," the former Board of Control for Cricket in India chief said before releasing the book at the Cricket Club of India.

"I still remember and will always remember Chappell's words to me at breakfast one morning when we were in Pakistan. He said we in India overdid the coaching part."

In response, Chappell said, "Sometimes as coach saying nothing is better than saying a wrong thing".

Chappell said players' skills are almost same at the international level, but it is in the development of mental strength that a player transcends the level and becomes great.

"Talent is important, but early exposure to a competitive environment is crucial to a player's progress. The sooner it is triggered in individuals the better," he added.

Chappell, who returned from Australia on Friday after a break at the end of India's disastrous campaign in the tri-nation series in Malaysia, said the induction of leading West Indies sports psychologist, Dr Rudi Webster, to help the Indian players would make a difference.

"Rudi has lot of experience in dealing with top athletes in the world, in tennis and golf, besides having helped top West Indian cricketers too in the past who, I won't name.

"He's quickly developed a rapport with our team when we were in the West Indies. His involvement with the team was very important," Chappell said.

"Rahul and the seniors in the team responded very well to him. Virender Sehwag has gone on record saying Rudi had an impact on his performance.

"I think he's a very user friendly psychologist. We thought it's good to bring him in before the (2007) World Cup. He will deal with each individual separately," said one of the all-time great batsmen from Australia.

Chappell said it is up to the Indian board whether they want to use his services for players below the age of 19 or not.

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