Sachin Tendulkar has disclosed in his autobiography, Playing It My Way, that former India coach Greg Chappell made a “shocking” suggestion, asking him to take over the captaincy from Rahul Dravid months before the 2007 World Cup in the West Indies.
In the autobiography, due for release on Thursday, Tendulkar is scathing in his criticism of Chappell, who was the national coach from 2005 to 2007, describing him as a ringmaster who imposed his ideas on the players without showing any signs of being concerned about whether they felt comfortable or not.
Elaborating on the coach’s bid to replace Dravid, Tendulkar writes, Just months before the World Cup, Chappell suggested that I should take over the captaincy from Rahul Dravid.
My wife Anjali, who was sitting with me, was equally shocked to hear him say that :together, we could control Indian cricket for years.
He says he rejected Chappell’s suggestion outright.
So disgusted was Tendulkar with Chappell’s suggestion he suggested to the BCCI that the best option would be to keep Chappell back in India and not send him with the team to the World Cup.
The World Cup ended in a disaster with India failing to progress from the group stage.
I don’t think I would be far off the mark if I said that most of us felt that Indian cricket was going nowhere under Chappell says Tendulkar.
The Australian was publicly questioning our commitment and instead of asking us to take fresh guard, was making matters worse,writes Tendulkar
The Indian maestro says several senior players were relieved to see Chappell go which was hardly surprising because, for reasons hard to comprehend, he had not treated them fairly and wanted them to be dropped.
Chappell is on record as saying that he may 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.
Frankly, Sourav is one of the best cricketers India has produced and he did not need favours from Chappell to be part of the team.
When Chappell suggested to V.V.S. Laxman that he should open the innings, the latter said he had tried it in the first half of his career, as he was confused, but had settled down in the middle-order.
Greg’s response stunned us all. He told Laxman he should be careful, because making a comeback at the age of 32 might not be easy.
The 41-year-old is also critical of the Australian’s propensity to hog the limelight when the going was good and leaving the players in the lurch when things weren’t rosy.
I remember that every time India won, Greg could be seen leading the team to the hotel, or into the team bus, but every time India lost, he would thrust the players in front.