Australia Test great and former India coach Greg Chappell has dismissed Sachin Tendulkar's contention that he wanted Rahul Dravid removed as captain in the months leading up to the 2007 Cricket World Cup.
"The claims made in Sachin's new book were brought to my attention earlier today," Chappell told cricket.com.au.
"Whilst I don't propose to get into a war of words, I can state quite clearly that during my time as Indian coach I never contemplated Sachin replacing Rahul Dravid as captain.
"I was therefore very surprised to read the claims made in the book."
"During those years, I only ever visited Sachin’s home once, and that was with our physio and assistant coach during Sachin’s rehabilitation from injury, at least 12 months earlier than what was reported in the book."
"We enjoyed a pleasant afternoon together but the subject of captaincy was never raised," cricket.com.au quoted Chappell as saying .
Tendulkar dropped a bombshell when he disclosed that Chappell, who was the Indian coach in 2007, had asked him to take over India's captaincy from Dravid months before the 2007 World Cup in West Indies.
"Together, we could control Indian cricket for years," the Australian told Tendulkar during a visit to his home when he offered to "help me in taking over the reins of the side" from Dravid, the master batsman writes in his autobiography "Playing it My Way" 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".
This shocking revelation created an uproar in cricketing circles. Dravid said he was not "privy to any private conversation between two individuals".
"I haven't really read the excerpts of that book. Also I am not privy to any private conversation between two individuals. I have not heard about this before and I have no idea what happened and I would not want to make any comment," Dravid told ESPN Cricinfo.
However, Dravid said seven years had passed since the 2007 World Cup and it did not affect him. "It's been a long time and it does not make much of a difference to me now."
India's 2007 World Cup campaign ended in a fiasco with the team winning only one of the three group matches against lowly Bermuda, and losing to Bangladesh and Sri Lanka.
Lashing out at Chappell, Tendulkar says that the Australian must take a lot of responsibility for the mess resulting from India's performance in the World Cup. "I don't think I would be far off the mark if I said that most of us felt that the Indian cricket was going nowhere under Chappell".
The little master said that 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".
Tendulkar writes that Chappell wanted to drop senior players from the team.
"Chappell seemed intent on dropping all the older players and in the process damaged the harmony of the side. On one occasion, he asked VVS Laxman to consider opening the batting.
Laxman politely turned him down, saying he had tried opening in the first half of his career because he was confused, but now he was settled in the middle order and
Greg should consider him as a middle-order batsman.
"Greg's response stunned us all. He told Laxman he should be careful, because making a comeback at the age of thirty-two might not be easy."
"In fact, I later found out that Greg had spoken to the BCCI about the need to remove the senior players, no doubt hoping to refresh the team," the maestro writes.
Ganguly has come out and backed Sachin on these claims. "I really don't want to go back to that period, you have seen it in the results. (It was) one of worst phases of Indian cricket and worst phase a cricketer can go through, especially someone like me. There were lies after lies and six months later he wanted Rahul removed and Sachin as captain. This goes on to show how the man went about his job," he said.
"I was not surprised to see India not qualifying for the next round (in 2007 World Cup). When I came back to the team, I had spoken to Dravid about that much later and told him that these were the things going on. He said he knew it all but 'couldn't control Greg'," Ganguly disclosed.
(With agency inputs)