I looked at this article - http://www.khaleejtimes.com/DisplayArticle.asp?section=sports&xfile=data/sports/2005/August/sports_August512.xml
and at this article - http://cricket.indiatimes.com/quickies/1215227.cms
and I chuckle to myself and say - "Mr. Chappell ... this is where you show the world whether u r man or mouse".
The stories may be just rumours but I have had reason to comment on Sehwag before this. Before a series started (damn, I am forgetting which one ... was it the Australian series in India ... the one we lost???), he publicly commented upon preferring Akash Chopra to partner him in the opening slot in tests rather than Yuveraj. This was a sensitive issue and one to be planned out thoroughly ... and the guy says "no rather than Yuveraj, I think Chopra is better ... coz he is more suited to be a partner for me". Seriously, if Yuvi read that and didn't get pissed off, I would be really surprised. Forget if Yuvi would make a good opener or not ... IMO, never should Yuvi open in the near future ... unless there is a dramatic improvement in his technique outside off stump. The issue is - Sehwag is not really the person to be commenting on this .... he is nobody to ruin Yuveraj's chances for the slot. He has no right to go public ... he is not the captain or the vice captain of the test team.
The second case was more recent when Ganguly was selected captain for Zimbabwe ... Sehwag opened his mouth yet again to comment on "Ganguly being the best choice" or words to that effect. For a second, forget if Ganguly is the best choice or not. Who is Sehwag to pass judgement on that. The statement indicates "I think Dravid is not the best person at the moment to lead us" .... I can't imagine Dravid wasn't majorly pissed off on hearing this ... anyone would be ... it is the old "salt on the wounds" stuff here.
Sehwag is a wonderful batsman in tests .... coz he is different. Of the current lot, probably he is the only "Australian" mentality kind of guy in terms of always being aggressive. Sourav for all his "firebrand" attitude has tucked his tail between his legs and ran in the opposite direction many a time ... when the decision was his as to whether India presses for a win or plays safe and tries for a draw. Probably where Sehwag should be less Australian is in the way he opens his mouth. McGrath's "we should win 5-0" is coming back to haunt him now .... in fact, things r at a head where Ian Bell, the nobody from nowhere, is commenting on it being good if McGrath is fit for the final test as "we can handle him" .... lmao. If McGrath does play and gets Bell, I can hear some sweet music being exchanged.
On Australia, suddenly they r looking like a team with many a problem. At one point of time people used to wonder if the Australian team even needed a captain ... they were so damn good ... they were like a machine. Suddenly Ponting abuses everyone in sight coz he was dumb enough to get run out ... Gillespie moans and groans about the English crowd abusing him one second and asking for his autograph the next second ... he seemed terribly put out that his parents and wife etc were being made part of the colourful tirade aimed at him. Sooooo sad ... the clean-mouthed Aussies must be shocked at such behavior ... lol.
Gilly is looking mortal as is Hayden ... really, these guys need a series against India ... and things will be right as rain.
Gettign back to India, Chappell would be feeling the pressure. THough India won against Zimbabwe, even the Indians won't be too comfortable remembering the match. Poor Venu got his second duck on the trot and he will be wondering what hit him. In one way, I fully support the move of opening with Venu simply coz, as I put it before, if u don't try it, u will never know. If Sachin, Sehwag and Ganguly were present and in form, obviously one can question the wisdom of trying out Venu and Kaif in the slots ... but with the opening slot vacant (nopes, Sehwag is not it), try something .... if it fits, great! Else back to the drawing board.
See, Greg Chappell could easily follow the tried and tested stuff ... Ganguly, Sehwag, Dhoni, Dravid, Yuveraj, Kaif, Venu or Raina or JP, four bowlers ... makes up the eleven ... and their success percentage might be just decent enough to be usual. It is the easiest thing possible ... but what it will not give u is an idea of what is possible. When I got to know chappell was the selected one, I thought "ok now we will know what we can achieve ... we will know what is possible ... we will think differently" ... and that is happening.
This series is not important ... neither was Sri Lanka ... obviously if India had won, it would have been better for everyone, Chappell included. But the idea is a long term plan ... which requires ... errr ... a long term to achieve.
Chappell will get five out of ten ideas dead wrong .... three of them will be ok-ok ... two of them will be dead right ... that is what we r paying him to do ... if we pick the first eleven on reputation (and with SRT back later, it will be even easier) and bat and bowl and field the same way, hey, we could have had Mohinder Amarnath as coach ... he would have draped the Indian flag around his shoulders and sang the national anthem whenever India went to bat. We could have got him for half the money we may pay Chappell.
Whether it wanted to or not, the BCCI did the correct thing by hiring a professional for the job ... problem is with people equating wins with building a team ... really, my take on this is - if we won consistently, then we don't need to build a team .... it is already built ... that is why we r winning.
The same team will look tons better when Sehwag gets back some of his touch, when Ganguly stops jumping like a cat on a hot tin roof whenever a bowler bowls short ... and when the dependable Dravid gets back among the runs. It will be the same coach and captain at that time but the team will look better. That is the entire point ... the coach is for strategizing ... the players r for playing. The coach is getting it wrong but he is strategizing ... incorrectly, but still doing it ... but the players r not playing. U cannot win anything if ur players don't play.
I read one article - http://www.sulekha.com/groups/postdisplay.aspx?cid=172722&forumid=756955 (the person posting here didn't post the source ... u can google it, I guess) - where they r talking of bring back the incentive plan ... that is the entire problem ... mollycoddling the players. no no beta, don't sulk ... we will give u more money ... see if u beat New Zealand, we will give u 50% bonus ... come on ... do it for the bonus.
It is sick, actually. I too love money ... I am famed for loving money ... but I am telling u this as a serious comment - if someone offered me ten times the money I am earning to do the same job I am doing today, I would grab at the chance ... and probably quit in disgust two months later. Coz love of money or not, I have some pride. Increase my responsibility and make it worth earning ten times the money I am earning now ... sure, I would probably be the happiest guy around ... but otherwise ... I feel I would be disgusted .... just a feeling.
The players earn much more than they should ... frankly. I bought a house after taking a loan from a bank ... I bought a car after taking a loan from a bank. I am a software engineer and I do not claim to earn less. It will be many years before I am a debt free man. A young man named Parthiv Patel earned 80 Lakh rupees for not playing the world cup ... plus a house in Amby valley. Others guys would have earned even more, depending on seniority etc ... why would they need a 50% bonus to perform better. Doesn't their conscience ever tell them that they should be playing to make their performance worth the money they r getting .... if not other factors like playing for the country.
This playing for the country thing is nonsense ... no one can eat roti and run a family coz he feels pride in his country ... we have seen Olympians live like beggars ... they all play for the country (must be ... there isn't any money to play for) ... some of them ran away to America coz they lost the bronze medal at Sydney by one second (Gursharan Singh in boxing) and no one gave a damn about them when they came back. If Rajyavardhan Rathore hadn't won silver, the various sports bodies and ministries tripping over themselves to honour him wouldn't even let him in the front door.
The cricketers r playing for money ... and rightly so ... but we over do it. Our culture is like that .... and probably that will be the biggest challenge in front of Chappell. Ask Sehwag to drop down the order and everyone will scream blue murder about his experience and explosive power going waste, never mind his obvious lack of success ... ask Venugopal to open and everyone snickers at this dumb Aussie. Tendulkar's non-availability for a non-series against Zimbabwe is a bigger issue than whether India has an all rounder or not.
Like I said ... man or mouse. Slowly the time is coming when we discover this. John Wright's successes were big coz the standards he had to face upto were abysmally low ... Chappell's task is harder coz the bar is now higher ... but he can take the easy way out and just manage to touch the bar ... or he can take the tough way out and try to raise the bar by several notches.
Time will tell. With an Aussie in charge, however ... I don't think playing safe will really be an option.