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Chapell needs BCCI's continued backing.
by Gulu Ezekiel
Aug 30, 2005
Its early days still for Greg Chappell. But Indian cricket’s version of ‘reality bites’ has already snapped its jaws shut on the fuming coach.

Chappell is used to Western ways where the clock is king and punctuality is a way of life. Of course things move at a different—and considerably slower—pace in this ancient land of ours. No wonder one of our oldest inside jokes is the one concerning ‘Indian Standard Time.’

It was British journalist Mark Tully—who knows India better than most of our home-grown hacks—who referred to India as a “functioning anarchy.” And sometimes it does not function too well either.

One of Sourav Ganguly’s schoolboy heroes was the former English captain David Gower, a batsman of languid grace and elegance. Attitude-wise though he was once described as “so laid-back, almost comatose.”

Perhaps Ganguly is taking after Gower in that respect too, which would be a pity since it is the captain whom the rest of the team looks up to—or at least they are supposed. That may not be the case right now though with the Indian team obviously split into rival Ganguly and Rahul Dravid camps.

Ganguly has never been a stickler for rules and his tardiness on the eve of the team’s departure for Zimbabwe has sent out all the wrong signals.

One wonders if anything will come of the Board’s threat to issue show-cause notices to those players who arrived late in their Mumbai hotel. Judging from past history, that is highly doubtful. There are some sacred cows in Indian cricket that just cannot be touched.

Chappell also has a point when he complains about the chaos that reigns at press conferences in India. It is invariably the photographers and dozens of TV cameramen who are out of control, jostling and pushing for vantage spots.

The fact that the coach is already losing his cool though—the Zimbabwe assignment is just his second—does not augur well for Indian cricket. Will we see a situation soon where he threatens to walk out on the team?

Chappell’s predecessor John Wright was his flip-side temperamentally. Never high-profile in his playing days either, Wright just went with the flow, not allowing anything to fluster him and refraining from ruffling any feathers.

The Board certainly made the right choice in Chappell. They would also surely have been aware that the Aussie great was a superstar in his playing days who demanded and usually got his way. Having put their faith in him, the BCCI will have little choice but to back him all the way now.

I however take exception to Chappell’s outburst against the Indian media shortly before the tri-series in Sri Lanka where he attacked them for putting out “negative” stories that affected the “morale” of the team.

Chappell should realize that unlike back home in Australia where the media plays the cheerleader role to perfection backing their players all the way, whether right or wrong, that has never been the case in India. The Indian media is far from perfect but - with some unfortunate exceptions - it is nobody’s lapdog either.

Blaming the press when things go wrong is the easy way out and a sign of desperation that Chappell should avoid at all costs.

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