India scaled unsurmountable heights under the hit captain-coach relationship between Sourav Ganguly and John Wright.
Under Wright, India blossomed into a competitive team while touring abroad and building an unbreachable fortress at home.
Continuing with the success mantra was recruiting foreign coaches, Ganguly backed former Australian legend Greg Chappell for the coveted position, after the termination of Wright’s contract.
However, BCCI’s move quickly backfired as Chappell upset the good work done by Wright and Ganguly, taking the Indian cricket team towards one of the darkest phases in history.
Now, former Indian cricketer Mohammad Kaif, who played under both Chappell and Wright regime, has compared the coaching styles of the two.
According to Kaif, Chappell was better off only as a batting coach and should not have taken over the helms overall, and said that the respected cricketer ‘spoilt’ his name.
“Chappell could have been a good batting coach. But he spoilt his name, as he could not run the team properly, he couldn’t understand the Indian culture and lacked good man-management skills and hence didn’t prove to be a good coach. People respected John Wright because he coordinated well with the players and let Ganguly the captain to lead the team from the front,” Kaif was quoted as saying by Times of India.
The spat between Ganguly and Chappell went public and garnered quite a substantial attention regarding rifts within the team.
Ganguly eventually had to give up his captaincy and also lost his place in the Indian side. Chappell’s disastrous tenure culminated into India’s humiliating exit for the 2007 World Cup in West Indies.
It was only recently when even Harbhajan Singh delivered scathing comments on Chappell and his style of coaching, tagging him as ‘a man with a double face’.
In Bhajji’s words, Chappell asked hard-hitting MS Dhoni, who was still finding his feet in international cricket, to play along the ground.
Further, Chappell was so obsessed with Irfan Pathan – the batsman, that he promoted him up the order frequently, upsetting the batting order, forcing Sachin Tendulkar to bat down the order. Additionally, Pathan was never the same new-ball bowler he was since the era of Chappell.