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'Twenty20 will transform players'

The former Indian coach Chappell says Twenty20 cricket will place higher physical demands and mental toughness on players than one-day cricket.

cricket Updated: Nov 18, 2007 12:29 IST

Twenty20 cricket will place higher physical demands and mental toughness on players than one-day cricket did when it began in the 1970s, according to former Australian skipper Greg Chappell.

Chappell, who quit as India coach in March following their one-day World Cup debacle, is back in the country to head an academy for players discovered on a nationwide talent contest.

He said the focus would be on preparing youngsters with the Twenty20 version of the game in mind.

"The cricketer of the future is going to have more demands placed on him than ever before, physically and mentally, to be able to adapt to the three distinct formats at the international level," he told reporters.

Chappell has built a military-style obstacle course at the academy in Jaipur as part of his training programme.

"I believe cricket is going through a very exciting phase at the moment," he said. "Probably the only comparison I can make is World Series Cricket in 1977 when it broke in Australia.

"The introduction of 20-over cricket, the IPL (Indian Premier League) coming in, it is going to change the face of cricket.

Different demands

The Indian board has launched the IPL, a franchise Twenty20 league, due to the version's soaring popularity after India's surprise World Cup win in September.

"The game changed dramatically 30-odd years ago, then we started to see the helmet come into play, night cricket, coloured balls and all of those sorts of changes.

"The basic talent demands of the game won't change, the physical and mental demands will.

Chappell felt India would be crucial to the game's growth.

"India happens to be the epicentre of cricket and financially it is the epicentre," he said. "I believe in the future, in the playing field it will be the epicentre of world cricket."

Future cricket belonged only to tough players, he said.

"The best examples I can give are players like (Australia's) Matthew Hayden, Adam Gilchrist, Ricky Ponting, Andrew Symonds and (England all rounder) Andrew Flintoff.

"They are going to be athletic, strong, impact players..., very strong mentally," he said. "It is going to be more and more of that kind that is going to be required."

(Editing by John O'Brien)

First Published: Nov 18, 2007 12:19 IST