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Chappell is still among the best

If results are the indicator then Greg is among the top three coaches in the world today, writes Atul Sondhi.

india Updated: Oct 11, 2006 12:59 IST

You can either love or hate Greg Chappell. The bouquets and brickbats he invited as captain of Australia are the same as the emotions he generated as the coach of a highly talented Team India, which somehow has failed to do justice to its talent in the present season.

Still, after three phases of his career, Greg continues to be among the top three coaches in the world since nineties. If results are the indicator of a man's greatness, then he indeed is a part of the holy trinity of coaches - the other two being John Buchanan and Bob Woolmer.

All this can be credited to Greg's special ability to bounce back once chips are down, the unique relationship he shares with Skipper Rahul Dravid, or just the never say die spirit of the Aussie blood.

It is indeed commendable how Greg brushed aside the turbulent first few months of 2005 - from his selection to the exit of Sourav Ganguly in ODIs - to become one of the top coaches of the World.

Fighting odds has always been a part of Greg's character, and he has not disappointed his Indian mentors.

An average start - Phase one of Greg

Was the selection of Chappell a wrong move? Nothing seemed to be going right for India and differences with Sourav Ganguly went on to reach a point of no return.

India participated in two tri-series - Indian Oil Cup in Sri Lanka and Videocon Tri-series in Zimbabwe - stuttering to the final and then stopped by Sri Lanka and New Zealand in relatively one-sided contests.

For his first ten matches, Chappell's performance was slightly poorer than Wright, and quite disappointing as far as some other top coaches were concerned.

After first 10 matches
MoodySri Lanka10730070
WhatmoreSri Lanka10640060
WoolmerSouth Africa10370030

From Also Ran to World Beaters - Chappell's second Innings

In old times, it was said that the Indian team always played better in the second innings.

And the way Chappell's boys performed at home against Sri Lanka and England, and humbled Pakistan in Pakistan, showed exactly that.

India's combined result against these three top teams was 15-3 - something no body expected after the drubbing received in Sri Lanka and Zimbabwe.

A quietly aggressive Rahul Dravid and a no nonsense coach combined just too well. Experiments were a great success and India both discovered and rediscovered heroes in the likes of Dhoni, Pathan, Raina and Yuvraj.

In this period, the only blip on the radar was a 2-2 draw at home against South Africa and 1-1 against Pakistan at Abu Dhabi. The Indian team looked a world beating outfit for sure.

After first 34 matches
WoolmerSouth Africa3422120064.71
WhatmoreSri Lanka3422111064.71
MoodySri Lanka3415181044.12

The success till Abu Dhabi catapulted Chappell from seventh place to second. After 34 matches, only Buchanan enjoyed a better success rate but then the Australian coach never had an experimental squad, and had more world-beaters than any other team in the world.

From Ecstasy to Agony - Third phase of Greg

Perhaps one last shot from Yuvraj in the second ODI against the West Indies, and slightly better middle order resistance against Australia in their final match at Malaysia could have changed the equation.

Since losing momentum to the genius of Bravo, India have now won just two of their last ten ODIs. Though it has not affected Greg's position much in the list of honour after 44 matches.

After first 44 matches
WoolmerSouth Africa4431130070.45
WhatmoreSri Lanka4425171156.81
MoodySri Lanka4422202050.00

Though the massive disappointments in Malaysia and Caribbean may have dampened the fan's enthusiasm somewhat, India are still a force to reckon with in the subcontinent.

The Champion's Trophy will be the perfect opportunity to wrest back the momentum for Chappell and his men. The gains of the phase two must not be frittered away. If Tendukar continues with his good form, a revival should always be on the cards. And also, a great phase four.

First Published: Oct 11, 2006 11:36 IST