‘Greg Chappell disrupted a solid team, don’t know what was his motive’: Harbhajan Singh recalls ‘lowest point’ of his career
Veteran India cricketer Harbhajan Singh believes the 2007 ODI World Cup was the lowest point of his career. India were eliminated from the tournament in the first round itself after losing to Bangladesh and Sri Lanka. At the time, former Australia cricketer Greg Chappell was leading the Indian team as the head coach, and Harbhajan believes that the atmosphere of the team under Chappell was not right and the players did not trust each other.
“When Greg Chappell came as the coach of our side, he disrupted the entire team. I don’t know what motive he came with. No one knows how to disrupt a solid team better than him. Only god knows what was his motive. The entire press was under him. He would make them write what he wanted, he used to do whatever he wanted,” he said in a video interview with former India cricketer Aakash Chopra on his Youtube chat show ‘Aakash Vani’.
“The 2007 50-over World Cup has to be the lowest point of my cricketing career. I thought we were going through such a difficult time and I also thought that maybe it is not the right time to play for India. I felt wrong people were at the helm of Indian cricket.
“I felt these people have come to ruin Indian cricket. Who is Greg Chappell? Why is he doing such things? He was trying to divide and lead, he used to do such things. I don’t know what his motive was,” Harbhajan added.
The 39-year-old further said that the team that travelled to the West Indies in 2007 for the ODI World Cup had quality players. “When I look back at the team that travelled to the West Indies in 2007, it was such a great team. We were just not able to perform as no one was in the right frame of mind, no one trusted each other. When the team is not happy then the results do not go your way.
“That is what happened. Despite having such a strong team, we were out in the first round. We lost to Sri Lanka and Bangladesh, they were not that big teams, it was not like we lost to Australia or South Africa. Sri Lanka played final that year, but I would still think we were a team at par with them. That was the lowest point of my career,” he said.
Harbhajan further went on to recall the World T20 win in 2007 in South Africa, and said that despite having a young set of players, the team was able to win the title because the atmosphere in the dressing room was a happy one.
“Despite that, we went on to win the 2007 T20I World Cup and everything changed. We got the limelight again, we started playing for India. Greg Chappell was gone. Our Indian coaches Lalchand Rajput, Venkatesh Prasad and Robin Singh - These people worked really hard with the team. The atmosphere had improved. The team started winning again.
“A junior team went to South Africa, no one thought we could win. Rohit Sharma, Robin Uthappa, Joginder Sharma were new. Me, Yuvraj, Viru and Agarkar were the only ones who were experienced players. Rest of the team was fairly new. No one thought we could be the world champions, but we became world champions because the atmosphere was so good,” he said.