Guru Greg- The volcanic cricket documentary of all time

Guru Greg

India has lost the England series 2018, the coach selection process and captain’s decision taking ability is under the scanner. The coach Ravi Shastri “my way or highway” attitude is heavily criticized in social media.  He is famous for making lofty statements taking a jab at the opposition, but his media friendly behavior hasn’t done anything good to him.

His recent alleged affair with Nimrat Kaur earned him the title of “Sugar daddy”. He isn’t a behind the scenes coach like John Wright and Gary Kirsten, but is much similar to Greg Chappell. He is the new controversy king and loves to give it back just like his predecessor.

Someday he should sit on a couch and watch the one hour long documentary on Greg Chappell to avoid the mistakes made in the past. The documentary, which erupted the Indian cricket and left some scars on the face forever.  While, the Indian media was slamming Greg Chappell as an Australian agent sent to tarnish Indian cricket, the documentary presented the Greg Chappell side of the story.

The one hour long documentary starts with a personality tussle between Saurav Ganguly and Greg Chapell, where Chappell credited Ganguly for playing a major role in getting him selected as an Indian coach. He later criticized the orthodox Indian culture of trading favor with favor, overlooking all flaws and surrendering to another person. This doesn’t go well with stubborn Greg Chappell, who believed in taking stern actions rather than being a captain’s puppet. He described Ganguly mentally unfit to lead the team and alleged him for plotting conspiracy and mind games against him.

Greg Chappell “middle finger” episode

Greg Chappell “middle finger” episode

A few months later, Saurav Ganguly was sacked from the team and Rahul Dravid was made the captain. Greg Chappell was again on gun point, the Indian fans anger erupted, mounting pressure on the BCCI to sack Chappell and bring back Ganguly as a captain.

In an incident, when Chappell was about to board the bus along with the team, he was booed by Ganguly fans. In return, he showed the middle finger to the Ganguly fans sparking controversy. He put out his right hand and pointed a middle finger towards the crowd making the situations hostile to him.

When Chappell batted for the youngsters in the team

When Chappell batted for the youngsters in the team

In the next 12 months, he batted for a lot of youngsters in the team, preparing them for 2007 World Cup. He introduced players like Suresh Raina, Munaf Patel, S. Sreesanth, Piyush Chawla and Robin Uthappa to international cricket and they didn’t disappoint.

Indian team broke the record for most consecutive wins while chasing (17 wins) overtaking the West Indies record of 14 wins. The team was in great nick and forgot the lost unsung hero Saurav Ganguly. The senior players like Sachin Tendulkar, Harbhajan Singh, VVS Laxman and Zaheer Khan were the fading stars ready to get replaced.

Everything clicked and Greg Chappell was honored with the title “Guru Greg”.

Greg Chappell media show

Greg Chappell media show

Greg Chappell was never a behind the scenes coach. He displayed every action in front of the camera. Now that it is clear, he was doing all this to get the maximum footage for his documentary. He represented the wrong image of BCCI and India to the world.  Just before the start of Champions Trophy, he was spotted by the media scolding the Indian team for their lazy attitude. He scolded the batsmen to not waste time in the nets and understands the importance of playing international cricket.

He could have passed the message inside the dressing room, but he chose the right moment to demean the team in front of the media. The resistance between the coach and the players was evident, which resulted in a flop show in the Champions Trophy. The team was out of the tournament in the first round itself. The questions were raised

Greg Chappell and the experimental laboratory

Greg Chappell and the experimental laboratory

From the day 1 Greg Chappell revealed his intentions to extract the maximum talent out of every player to surprise the opposition. He spotted the batting talent of Irrfan Pathan and sent him one down to bat during a match against Sri Lanka. He scored blistering 83. From there on, his batting order was reshuffled from time to time, his bowling action and grip was modified to make him lethal as a player, but the plan backfired. Irrfan Pathan struggled both with bat and ball and eventually lost his place in the team.

He asked Rahul Dravid to open the batting in Tests, which worked in the early phase, but disturbed the rhythm of Dravid. He failed and soon went back to his original spot number 3. His intentions were good, but portrayal and management was poor. He asked Sachin to bat at number 4, leaving the opening spot for Robin Uthappa. His gravity towards youngsters divided, the team into senior and junior camp.

The Grand return of prince of Kolkata

By the end of 2006, Indian team was all set for South African tour. It was a team, which looked invincible on the papers. During the ODI series, the batters weakness to swinging deliveries was exposed. They were no match to South Africa on any front. Although, they managed to win T20 match.

A flop show in ODI’s shaken Greg Chappell, the demand to bring Saurav Ganguly back was finally accepted by the BCCI. Amidst midnight Saurav Ganguly had a meeting with Sharad Pawar and was selected for the test series in South Africa.

Both Greg Chappell and Rahul Dravid declined to speak anything about Saurav Ganguly.  Ganguly was portrayed as a fighter, who fought his way after smelling the barren soil and is ready to prove his mettle yet again. The coach welcomed him.

And all of a sudden, the gloomy cloud disappeared and the sun again shined over the Indian team.  Saurav Ganguly made a grand return by scoring a match winning fifty, smashing the bowlers to every part of the ground. S. Sreesanth proved to be a surprise package blowing away the South African squad. He was judged man of the match.

The Indian team was back on track, but lost the test series 2-1. Irrfan Pathan was sent back amid the tour. Saurav Ganguly was the lone fighter dispatching the South African demons to the skiers.

For the first time Greg Chappell experiments were scrutinized.  The World Cup was just round the corner, but before that India had to play one day series with Sri Lanka and West Indies.

Finally smelling the victory of home turf

Indian win vs sa in 2006

After the South Africa, finally the team was on the winning streak. The key players like Sachin Tendulkar, Saurav Ganguly, Rahul Dravid, Yuvraj Singh and MS Dhoni piled big scores giving a sigh of relief to Guru Greg. When the team was on winning run, Chappell had other plans.

Chappell wanted Suresh Raina in the squad, but wasn’t the case. He wasn’t happy with the team selection. He said that team looked good on paper, but wasn’t sure about the performance on the ground.

Sachin Tendulkar in his book mentioned that he insisted BCCI to do not take Greg Chappell with the team. The seniors can handle the team.

2007 World Cup- The black spot in cricket history

2007 World Cup- The black spot in cricket history

India lost its opening match to Bangladesh. The pitch was playing slow and the Bangladeshis took the full advantage. The Bangladesh team was on a roll, thrashing the Indian team like a minnow. Here in India, Indian team effigies were burned, and with no surprise the prime target was Greg Chappell.

He gave warning to Indian players to pull up the socks and play as a liberated unit, but the team almost had no respect for Chappell. The team transformed into a rebel group. Indian won their next game against Bermuda, where every player made the most of the opportunity.

If India had to go to super eights, they had to beat Sri Lanka. Greg Chappell was keeping his finger crossed. The team practiced hard, but Sri Lanka was a better opposition on a day. In between the news of the Bob Woolmer death shocked the cricket world. The cause of his death was unclear. The mystery deepened when some reports suggest of him being killed by Pakistani cricketers.

Greg Chappell expressed his condolence and criticized the BCCI for putting excessive pressure on the coach. Greg Chappell knew what was going to happen. According to the documentary, post World Cup he resigned from the post of Indian coach.

The 41 minute long documentary presented the Greg Chappell views to the viewers in Australia. Every presented their side of the story about the whole Chappell-Ganguly episode, but it was Indian cricket, which suffered the most.

Writer’s take

Greg Chappell temperament is questionable, he couldn’t handle defeat. He has the history of speaking controversy. His under arm delivery episode was an act of shame, he could do anything to execute the plans. He is a poor manager. A year later in 2008, he was appointed as an Australian coach for the Indian tour. The team failed miserably and he was immediately sacked from the post. Even Aussies were fed up with his dictator attitude.

Anything said in the dressing room should remain behind the doors, but he made everything public.  He should have handled Indian senior players with respect. Here is what senior players said about him.

What various Indian players said about Greg Chappell

Sachin Tendulkar

greg chappell with Sachin Tendulkar

“Chappell wanted to replace me with [Rahul] Dravid as India captain in 2007. Just months before the (2007) World Cup, Chappell had come to see me at home and, to my dismay, suggested that I should take over the captaincy from Rahul Dravid.

Anjali (Tendulkar’s wife), who was sitting with me was equally shocked to hear him say that ‘together, we could control Indian cricket for years’, and that he would help me in taking over the reins of the side.

I was surprised to hear the coach not showing the slightest amount of respect for the captain, with cricket’s biggest tournament just months away. He stayed for a couple of hours, trying to convince me, before finally leaving.”

Harbhajan Singh

greg chappell with Harbhajan-Singh

“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,”

Zaheer Khan

greg chappell with Zaheer Khan

“After he was appointed the coach of the Indian team, he once came upto me and told ‘Zaheer, you will not be playing for India till I remain the coach’. I understood one thing. This man had agendas and was getting personal. He had his set ideas and if you didn’t fall in line, then you have to be prepared to fall by the wayside. He tried to finish my career but I believe I came back even stronger in South Africa during the end of 2006”

VVS Laxman

greg chappell with VVS Laxman

“I mentioned that back in 2000, I had decided I would not open anymore after it didn’t work for me in the first four years. I was consistent in the middle order. Chappell asked me my age and said – Don’t you think 31 is too young an age to sit at home? I had a very good run under him. I was the second highest run-scorer under him.

In 2006, it was the worst dressing-room I was part of. I have played under various coaches and captains for 16 years but that year was the worst atmosphere in a dressing-room”.

Virender Sehwag

greg chappell with Virender Sehwag

“The thing with him (Chappell) was that whatever you shared with him, it was promptly disclosed to media and selectors. He talked and that hurt the trust,”

Also CheckWhat is Ravi Shastri’s Contribution to Team India as coach?

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