Guru cool loses 'vision'
It's all over now. Unless, of course, there's some sort of peculiar miracle on Sunday and the Bangladeshis, who sat grinning in the stands on Friday, do the improbable and collapse against Bermuda.
Like India, who, after doing two of the three things they were expected to do against a far more rounded Sri Lankan team, bat and field badly (the bowling was okay), failed their mega test. Some of the responsibility for the 69-run loss could go to India coach Greg Chappell, who was not scheduled to address the media but made an unexpected appearance.
He was clearly unhappy with the tone of the press conference, and often called questions "inflammatory". At one point, when a journalist asked him if he didn't feel responsible, he shot back, "I'm not employed by you, I'm answerable to the BCCI".
Read on for what could possibly be Chappell's last stand with the Indian team.
Who is responsible for the defeat?
I think it's collective. We didn't play well enough and it is a disappointment everyone has to share.
Would you like to continue as coach?
This is not the time to talk about that.
Is the failure of Vision 2007 a personal failure for you?
It's a collective responsibility. We came here with high expectations, and haven't been able to live up to them. That's something everyone is well aware of in the dressing room. It's a fairly quiet place as you can imagine at the moment. Everybody's disappointed.
Was the team under pressure?
I think the team definitely plays under more pressure than most others because of the weight of expectations. It does have an effect and I’d say from my experience of the last few weeks, that it definitely had its effect. Up to the Bangladesh game, I thought the boys were a bit anxious at that stage and then the pressure built from there.
This team was supposed to be working towards the Cup. What went wrong?
There is nothing more to be said other than we didn't play well enough. We got the team India wanted and we didn't perform when the time came. That's the long and the short of it. That is my answer…there’s no point making comments at an emotional time.
Is the team unable to handle pressure?
There are a number of factors but I'm not going to try and put labels on it. Again, it's a very emotional time for a lot of people and any comment can be misconstrued and made to sound worse than it actually is.
Over the last 17 matches overseas, India have only played out 50 overs on four occasions. Why?
We haven't played well enough.
But it's a period stretching over a year and a half?
We haven't played well enough, that's it.
Another word mentioned a lot is "process". What went wrong with the process?
That's an inflammatory question and I'm not prepared to answer it.
You are answerable to the BCCI. But aren't you also answerable to a billion fans? What would you say to them?
We didn't play well enough.
I don't know what else you want me to say. You want me to criticise somebody or a group of people? I am not prepared to do that. We didn't play well enough.
Why didn't we play well enough?
Well I don't think India have won a tournament overseas since 1985. There is a bit of history to it. There are obviously some reasons. I am not prepared to go into them at this stage.
How critical was Tendulkar's failure?
I don't think we can blame one individual, or individuals, in this case. Nobody goes out there and tries to play badly. As a group, we didn't play well enough.
How much responsibility are you willing to take?
Obviously I have to take some and am quite happy to do that, I'm the coach. But I don't think the coaching staff alone must be blamed. Apportioning blame is not going to change what has happened.
This is India's worst ever World Cup performance. Is there a need for serious introspection?
I think there is a need for a serious introspection, but I don't think it should start today.
Do you think it's time for a change of guard?
That's an inflammatory question, and you know I can't answer that in this forum.
Are you taking anything from this World Cup?
A lot of disappointment.
Given a chance, would you like to stay with the team?
I am not prepared to answer that question today. It's not my decision.
What if you are given a chance?
I haven't been given a chance. Given an opportunity, I will give an answer then.
Was the planning wrong?
The planning was fine, the preparation good, but the execution wasn't. You've got to credit Lanka, they played well and deserved to win. We weren't able to execute the plan as we would have liked to. It happens, probably more often than it should have.
The body language after the Bangladesh match didn’t seem right. Do you agree? Or do you think it would also be an inflammatory answer?
It would be an inflammatory answer. You are trying to put words in my mouth. They're not my words and they wouldn’t be words I would like to use.
Are you concerned about the reactions back in India?
In the light of recent incidents, obviously you've got to be concerned.... I hope people realise it is just a game, and the guys out there did their best. It wasn't good enough this time.
Are you going to go back with the Indian team or are you worried about your security?
I don't think any comment about that is going to help the situation. I'm quite confident that systems are in place to look after security of the team and the individuals involved.
You took over the team in July of 2005. How many points would you give yourself on a scale of 10?
Again, that's a very difficult question to answer. I'm happy that I've done the best job that I could do. Eighteen months is not a long time to build a team. If you look at any sport, it takes a long time… I am happy with myself. The coaching staff and the support staff did the best that they could do. It wasn't good enough.