Sachin Tendulkar really wanted to bat where he wanted to bat: Greg Chappell

Former India coach Greg Chappell hits back at Master Blaster; Aussie says Indians only keen on retaining their place in team

Greg Chappell said he wanted Sachin Tendulkar to bat down the order during the 2007 WC Getty Images
Now, Greg Chappell has played it his way. And this time, he has targeted both Sachin Tendulkar and Sourav Ganguly without actually naming the latter.

Three months after Tendulkar launched a scathing attack on the former India coach by referring to him as a “ringmaster” in his autobiography, Playing It My Way, the Australian has returned the favour.

In an episode of ‘Cricket Legends’, aired on Fox Sports across Australia on Thursday evening, Chappell said that the reason for their fallout was him suggesting that Tendulkar bat down the order during the 2007 World Cup in the Caribbean. India, of course, were knocked out of the tournament in disastrous fashion.

Chappell said he wanted Tendulkar to bat lower for the sake of the team. That’s not all. He claimed that the ‘Master Blaster’ initially agreed to do so, but later changed his mind.

“I expected, I thought, that he would want to do what was right for the team. But he really wanted to bat where he wanted to bat and that was a real gulf between us,” Chappell said on the show.

“He preferred to open the batting … but in the World Cup in the West Indies, we needed him to bat down the order. That was where our problems were, we had other players who could bat at the top of the order. He agreed to it initially, but then he recanted and said he didn’t want to do it. I forced him to do it and, from that point onwards, he didn’t want to work with me again. In hindsight, I probably would have found a different solution.”

During the show, Chappell also launched a veiled attack on Ganguly without naming the former India skipper.

“The challenge for Indian cricket was and probably always will be is that it is more important (for the players) to be in the team than to be in the best team in the world,” Chappell said.

“Once they have been there for a while, they are quite happy just to keep their place in the side. What I was trying to encourage was for them all to continue getting better. We made changes that were quite successful but in the process it had created some problems particularly for me in relation to certain players. In the process we had dropped off a captain (Ganguly) along the way and that set a chain going. He (Ganguly) signed off on the things he needed to do to stay in the team, but then never actually did what he had promised,” Chappell added.

It may be recalled that Tendulkar had opened a can of worms by revealing in his book that Chappell wanted him to replace Rahul Dravid just before the 2007 World Cup.

The book has already sold more than half a million copies.

“Just months before the World Cup, Chappell had come to see me at home and, to my dismay, suggested that I should take over the captaincy from Rahul Dravid,” Tendulkar wrote.

“Anjali (Tendulkar’s wife), who was sitting with me, was equally shocked to hear him say that ‘together, we could control Indian cricket for years’, and that he would help me in taking over the reins of the side.

“I was surprised to hear the coach not showing the slightest amount of respect for the captain, with cricket’s biggest tournament just months away. He stayed for a couple of hours, trying to convince me, before finally leaving.”

Tendulkar also described Chappell as a “ringmaster who imposed his ideas on the players without showing any signs of being concerned about whether they felt comfortable or not”.