Greg Chappell seemed to always be in the limelight when he took the role of head coach for the Indian cricket team, making a few big decisions in the process.
While some of these decisions welcomed positive results, at the end of the day, the batting legend lost all his respect among India's cricket fans. However, if we take a look at the work he undertook between 2005/07, the changes he made can be felt in volumes.
Pressure on seniors
Everyone was bound to deliver. No one should take their place for granted. The skipper felt the heat and couldn’t sustain the pressure. The new coach mobilized his resources with Anil Kumble and Rahul Dravid being given a chance to show their captaincy skills.
Opportunity for youngsters
It was during this phase that we saw many young players craving their way into the team. Though most of them could not solidify their position, the new coach assured opportunity to young talent. RP Singh, Munaf Patel, R Pawar, V Rao, D Karthick ,S Raina and a few others made it into the team.
The focus was on the all-round development of existing cricketers. Part time bowlers were encouraged and bowlers spent more time practicing batting. Young pacer Irfan Pathan was given more opportunities to bat up the order, which gradually spoiled his bowling. The left arm swing bowler who was compared with Pakistan captain and all-rounder Wasim Akram soon started fading away.
Change in fielding
In the early 2000s India only had two quality fielders in the squad (Md Kaif and Yuvraj Singh). Greg knew the importance of saving crucial runs in one day internationals and this period saw Raina, Rohit Sharma, Dinesh Karthik and few others showing their skills within the circle. During his two years he tried to raise our standards with respect to the others.
From where John Wright left India, Greg felt the necessity to ensure fitness. Though his authoritative attitude was not appreciated, we could see its impact after five years of his departure. The players had to practice tennis, which would increase their concentration and their agility.
Alhough Chappell received a lot of criticism for his changes, the execution was far from incorrect. India seemed to lack patience with him, partly due to his inexperience with coaching an international team.
He gained immense criticism when he voiced his opinion against the then captain and his relations with the other players raged controversy in the dressing room.
While some felt Greg used the policy of “divide and rule”, it’s important to see how the man took all the criticism trying to put the best players together.
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