Whether Greg Chappell should continue as coach or not is the hottest topic of discussion these days, amid speculation that the Australian’s contract may not be renewed, in the wake of India’s disastrous showing in the World Cup.
But then, what is good for Greg? Should he, given an opportunity, continue and try to implement his ‘processes,’ or should he leave in a dignified manner? If he quits, the next question would be, who should replace Greg? India’s premature exit has opened up a Pandora’s Box.
The most intriguing part would be the BCCI’s assessment of Greg’s contribution to Indian cricket, and what kind of damage he has possibly inflicted over the past 18 months. A coach always has a say after the tour and, obviously, Greg will have a grouse against non-performers. This time, it could be the seniors in the team. No matter what he puts in his report, I am afraid it could turn out to be a feeble justification of his own stand, unless he puts his neck on the line and accepts responsibility.
Let us not forget that Greg was given a team that had enough credibility. It was almost the same team that reached the final in 2003 and also nearly beat Australia Down Under. What could have possibly gone wrong with Chappell’s way? What did a low-profile man like John Wright do that he couldn’t?
It is important to remember that our nation still doesn’t encourage sports as a career; it remains more of an entertainment. Neither do we have a sporting culture. No parent risks allowing his/her children to pursue a career in sports at the cost of academics. The point I am trying to make is that sports in India is plagued by a lot of insecurities when treated as a profession, unlike in the west.
Most foreign coaches fail to understand this aspect of Indian sports. Here, words like accountability, professionalism and process sound too heavy, leave alone De Bono’s Six-Hat methods. It is difficult for most players, who quit education midway, to assimilate all this. We are from a culture where best results are achieved by fine-tuning the emotions and sentiments of an individual. It is possible for a mainstream professional to apply his sporting experiences, but the reverse may not be as successful.
John Wright maintained a personal rapport with every player. There were fights during his time too but they were mostly emotional outbursts. By the end of the day, he would occupy the seat next to you on the bus back to base camp. With Greg, a difference could mean a long and a lonely flight back home.
Let’s recall Ganguly’s fiasco. No doubt he deserved to be dropped then, but Greg crossed limits by saying he was playing only for money. That kind of attitude is not conducive for a healthy relationship. Extreme professionalism doesn’t work in India. Chappell's ways only instilled fear in players, and he fanned it with his own insecurity.