So Chappel goes. Wasn't it inevitable?
What surprises me is the drama that has surrounded his resignation. His relevations (not yet confirmed but only rumours as of today) about the senior players ... Sachin's outburst in return. What was a pile of garbage earlier has now started stinking big time.
The nation seems to be shocked at the mention of the seniors, including Sachin, being the kind of guys who would keep the juniors down and who would act against the interests of the team. That is an interesting thought. I am not saying that Ganguly or Sehwag or Harbhajan kept anyone down ... but in a game which earns them millions every year, if they really push someone down to ensure they keep getting the paycheques, is that so difficult to believe? I know these are good cricketers, but by and large, the media seems to be giving them the image of saints, who would never hurt younger players and who would always have the country's interests at heart. But why?
If Ganguly thought (relax, guys ... just an example) that Suresh Raina was a better bet than him, is someone telling me seriously that Ganguly would step asisde and say "take him and not me ... he is the better man"???? No way, absolutely no way.
See, leave aside the allegations right now ... whether Sachin is right or Chappell is or Harbhajan is ... that is different. Let us get something very clear here ... the players play cricket not because their chests swell with pride at the thought of representing India but coz the game pays so bloody well. There is nothing wrong in it but what I mean is - if they were smart enough to be doctors or engineers or scientists, they would be doctors or engineers or scientists. Their talents lie in cricket and cricket pays well and so they r cricketers ... there is nothing more or less to it. Representing their country might give an extra dose of "high" but that would just be a perk ... not the reason itself. So let's not bring in their service to the nation and all that into all this. If Tendulkar has played 17 years and Ganguly has played 10 years then it doesn't mean that their commitment and pride at representing the country is beyond doubt ... it just means that they played cricket well enough to hold their spots for 16 and 10 years respectively.
So when Tendulkar says - "I have sweated blah blah for 17 years" ... great, u did and no one doubts it. However, that is not the point. The point made by Chappell was (again, not confirmed but through media reports) that the seniors were keeping the juniors down. It is definitely possible to keep someone down and still excel at one's job ... the two are unrelated.
Anyways, once SRT's outburst came up, it was curtains for Chappell .... personally I feel he wouldn't have been coach after the April 6-7 meeting, but once SRT spoke out, Chappell's fate was sealed. He didn't really have to wait to see what the BCCI would say ... if SRT gives a bad comment on anyone, that person really has no future left in Indian cricket.
In one way, I am happy Chappell is leaving. I had a lot of expectations from him and I think he had the right ideas in his mind ... bring forward youth ... look for attitude over anything else ... focus on processes ... etc etc etc. But it also became clear over time that the Indian cricketers, for whatever reason, were just not buying into that vision. e.g. - if Greg C wants them to dive around like the Australians, Sri Lankans, South Africans, Bangladeshis .... hey, almost everyone else except India .... then that wasn't going to happen. If he wanted SRT to bat in the middle order, hey SRT made sure everyone knew he didn't like the idea. It is also clear that come a standoff, no one in Indian cricket has the power to touch the biggies like SRT, Ganguly etc. So Chappell was bound to lose.
I still believe that SRT is the biggest factor here ... let all other 14 members of the squad of 15 who went to the Windies have complaints against Greg C. If just SRT had supported Chappell, Chappell would have won. Once SRT decided to go against him, Chappell didn't have a chance.
Anyways, this leaves open the question of - who would be the next coach. Sandeep Patil, who is one of the hopefuls, couldn't keep a huge smile off his face on the Star News program where he gives expert comments, even as he kept saying "this is a sad day for Indian cricket". I am sure the right noises would be made about Gavaskar but I am also sure that Gavaskar would not be the coach. I really doubt if any of the foreigners would be willing to touch India now .... even though Dave Whatmore and John Wright r supposed to be among the hopefuls too. But whoever it is, it has to be someone who is willing to bow to the player's demands ... else they will go the same way as Chappell did. In that sense, an Indian coach would be the best ... coz no one would respect him anyways and he wouldn't expect any respect either ... so there would be no clashes of ego etc. Unless Gavaskar or Ravi Shastri becomes the coach ... coz these guys have made their own careers in the media and entertainment sector ... where they make a lot of money. They don't need to come as the coach of the Indian team and take crap. However, the Mohider Amarnaths and the Sandeep Patils r different ... what they have today would be peanuts compared to what they would get as Indian coach ... if they have to swallow their pride, so what is the big deal anyways.
I look forward to April 6-7 ... and Greg Chappel, I think u would have been great for Indian cricket ... but Indian cricket proved to be too tough a nut to crack.