Coach was playing different games: Harbhajan Singh on ‘worst days of India cricket’
It’s safe to say former India captain Sourav Ganguly and Greg Chappell did not go along that well. The current BCCI president had lost his captaincy and was even dropped from the Indian side when Chappell was India’s head coach. What was worse was the fact that Chappell’s email sent to BCCI complaining about Ganguly got ‘leaked’, taking the matter to a different level altogether. But Ganguly wasn’t the only one who had his issues with the former Australian batsman. India off-spinner Harbhajan Singh on Wednesday termed Chappell’s era as the worst days of Indian cricket.
Responding to a Hindustantimes.com article on India’s two-time World Cup-winning captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni where Chappell stated he used to advice the young Dhoni to play along the ground more instead of trying to hit every ball to the boundary, Harbhajan tweeted: “He asked Dhoni to play along the ground coz coach was hitting everyone out the park.. He was playing different games.” He followed his tweet with a hashtag #worstdaysofindiancricketundergreg.
Chappell who became India’s head coach in May 2005, quit in 2007 just two days after claiming he won’t. Chappell had sent out an email to BCCI on April 2007 to announce his sudden resignation.
Under Chappell India bowed out of the group stages off the ODI World Cup 2007 but also had the record of winning most number of ODIs while chasing at that time.
Earlier, Chappell said that M.S. Dhoni is the most powerful batsman he has ever seen.
Chappell was coach of the Indian team for two controversy-riddled years between 2005 and 2007 in which he clashed with several senior members of the team, especially then-captain and current Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) President Sourav Ganguly.
His time, however, was also known for the rise of several younger players in the squad including Dhoni and Suresh Raina.
“I vividly remember that I was left awestruck when I saw him batting for the first time. He was definitely the most exciting cricketer in India at that time. He used to hit the ball from the most unusual positions. He is the most powerful batsman I have ever seen,” said Chappell during a chat session on the Facebook handle of the Playwrite Foundation.
“I remember his knock of 183 against Sri Lanka and how he tore them apart. It was power hitting at its very best. The next match was in Pune. I asked MS, ‘why don’t you play along the ground more instead of trying to hit every ball to the boundary’. We were chasing 260-odd and were in a good position and Dhoni was playing a contrasting innings to the one he had played just a couple of days before.
“We still needed 20 runs to win and Dhoni asked me, through 12th man R.P. Singh if he could hit sixes. I told him not until the target was in single digit. When we needed six runs to win, he finished the game with a six,” he said.
(With agency inputs)