‘That’s not bad bowling, that’s bloody good footwork’: What Ian Chappell told Shane Warne after historic Eden Gardens Test
Former captain Ian Chappell recalled telling Shane Warne that he did not bowl badly during the historic Test between India and Australia at Eden Gardens in 2001 but it was VVS Laxman’s sublime batting that made a decent effort from the legspinner look like an average performance.As India piled 657/7 decl. following on, Warne picked up one wicket for 152.
Chappell revealed that Warne approached him after the match seeking a review and asked whether his performance was ‘that bad’.
“I remember talking to Warnie [Shane Warne] after the 2001 series where Laxman and Dravid had the big partnership at Kolkata,” Chappell told Shane Watson on Lessons Learnt with the Greats podcast. “That’s the best I’ve seen leg-spin bowling being played, by Laxman – not so much by Dravid. I asked Warnie after the series, ‘How do you think you bowled?’ And he said, ‘I didn’t think I bowled that badly.’”
Laxman and Rahul Dravid played the innings of their life as India registered a famous win to break Australia’s 16-match winning streak. After being asked to follow-on, with India were 232/4 before Dravid and Laxman batted out an entire day and in the process added 376 runs for the fifth wicket for India. Chasing 384 to win, Harbhajan Singh spun Australia out for 212 and gave India one of their best Test wins of all time.
However, it was Laxman’s treatment of Warne that had everyone talking. He would not only jump out to hit Warne over his head, but with his silken wristwork, Laxman played stepped outside leg and hit the leg-spinner through covers.
“He [Laxman] was hitting ‘not half-volleys’ wide of mid-on – how he did I got no idea. It was pure genius,” Chappell added.
“But I said [to Warne]:’He’s coming out three paces and driving you wide of mid-on and the next ball you go a little higher and shorter, trying to fool him, and that guy goes back and pulls you for four. That’s not bad bowling mate, that’s bloody good footwork.’”