Beer, Chips and Cricket

This is a site about drinking beer, eating chips and thinking cricket. I am not a former player, a television commentaror or a journalist; my qualification to being worthy of hearing is that I drink a lot of beer, eat a lot of chips and think a lot about cricket. The thoughts need not be politically correct and often include colourful language but there will be no deliberate bias towards any player, community or state. I don't care about popular opinion or perceptions and I speak it as I see it.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

So Chappel goes. Wasn't it inevitable?

After the world cup whitewash, it was inevitable that a few heads would have to roll and frankly, Chappell's was the easiest to chop off. No one would take out protest rallies, no one would burn posters or effigies. Hey, he isn't a Bengali or a Marathi or a Tamil ... so who cares?

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.


The Chuckster


  • At Thursday, April 05, 2007 6:13:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Way to go. My thoughts exactly ... almost. I think you are being lenient on our "senior" players. Well, nobody expects them to step aside voluntarily and give their place to a junior, but to actively keep the juniors down, ensuring that they are not selected and making them feel unwelcome is not given. I have feeling the latter is what the reality is. Though in all honesty it not only players of this era who can be accused of this. --sarcasm starts: Maybe we as spectators and Greg C should be more accommodating of this behavior. -- sarcasm ends

  • At Thursday, April 05, 2007 8:31:00 AM, Blogger Vick said…

    I dont really understand. Are you saying that GC never got what he wanted during his tenure? How can you say that no one can touch SRT and Ganguly? Didnt he succeed in keeping Ganguly out of the team for 14 odd months? Isnt that long enough time to show results? Are you saying that Raina couldnt perform on the field because seniors were creating issues for him? And where was the backing GC suppose to give in case of Pathan?

    I feel GC got much more power than anyone ever has as Indian coach. His ideas were all good and logical. But he failed to implement them. And his mantra of 'Perfrom or Perish' needed to be applied on him too.

  • At Thursday, April 05, 2007 8:53:00 AM, Blogger Muthu said…

    Few questions regarding senior players keeping juniors out.

    1. Chappell said (as per journalist Bala), this is the worst team to travel to WI. And Suresh Raina is a must. Doesnt this expose Chappells ability to judge the players? Do you really agree with Chappell that Raina should have replaced Sourav in the team for WC(if not Sourav, who else Chappell would have referred as replacement, was it sehwag or sachin?)? I think Chappell thought of Raina as replacement for Sourav only because of the number of issues he had with Sourav. And in my opinion, it is stupidity to the core.

    2. Who are the juniors (referred by chappell) being kept out by seniors? Are they Raina, Pathan, Sreesanth and Dinesh Karthik? I suspect Chappells manipulative methods being an issue here. Does Chappell think Raina should have replaced Sourav Ganguly, Dinesh Karthik should have replaced Sachin Tendulkar, Pathan should have replaced Virender Sehwag and Sreesanth should have Ajit Agarkar? Except
    Sreesanth vs Ajit Agarkar (which is debatable), do you think Chappells choices are really worth looking into?

    Manipulative methods i said - because chappell supports some lesser capable players, to try and prove his point is correct, he brings in senior/junior divide. Vice Captain and Chairman of selectors, other senior players might have convinced captain (in front of coach) that selection of fielders ahead of batsmen/bowler would be disaster. Chappell wouldnt have digested the hard truth. Hence the outburst in name of seniors/juniors (truth is fielders Vs batsmen/bowlers).

    3. If you analyze Chappells tenure, India won mostly on flat wickets and lost mostly on bowler friendly conditions. Why? Does chappell has an answer for this? Did he ever attempt to improve the ability of batsmen/bowlers to adjust to different conditions? If he didnt attempt to improve technical aspects, did he at least try to improve the mental aspects of players? Did he worsen the mental aspects of players with his poor man management skills?


  • At Monday, April 09, 2007 4:37:00 PM, Blogger Raman33 said…

    Chappel picked up the wrong fight and the wrong person to speak the truth against.
    That is Sachin,he seems to have asked Sachin to not open the batting and that is asking a overeater to go on diet,Sachin just loves opening in ODIs and wouldnt give a damn about the team and just wants to add to his centuries.Though his average has fallen down drastically in ODIs and Tests over the years,he shamelessly clings on to the openign spot and he used his Brahmastra that he saved all these years and shed the tears by that self pity statement (which not many public liked as it was ridiculously cry baby stuff)but the board fell for it and i am sure they put pressure on Chappel
    Because he had said he had no intention to resign.


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