Switch on any of the news channels, and the flashing news interestingly reads the same.. "Indian Coach Greg Chappel resigns". Well, this was bound to happen, and even if he wouldn't have, there was every possibility that his contract won't have been renewed (which was due to expire at the end of this month).
One of the most rewarding (read challenging) jobs that one can ever think of, and interestingly even the President of India probably won't be mentioned this many number of times. Such is the nature and appeal of this game, and it was incredibly disappointing to see Chappell failing miserably at the same.
Well, cricket readers, pundits, followers et al might argue that the real rot lies in the very system. Agreed, and probably a yr and half won't be enough to clean this. The very way that BCCI functions, the always increasing hoopla about the game and its chief actors, the money involved, lack of accountability, zonal system blah blah blah.. It definitely sucks, no second thoughts on this. But then, there were numerous other things that went incredibly wrong during Chappell's tenure, which definitely deserve a mention.
Tendulkar fades faster than expected - Although agreed upon the fact that 17 yrs of non stop cricket would have taken a toll on him, and even though others might argue about Brian Lara playing (more or less) for the same duration, there's no doubt that the pressure on Sach to perform was a million tonnes when compared to the latter. But still I along with a hundred thousand million souls expected him to fire.. atleast till this World Cup. What really happened? Did his reflexes slow down all of a sudden or from no where basic flaws appeared in his technique? It was quite amazing and at the same time disturbing to see Chappell sayin' that "Sachin is never gonna be the same again" as early as in 2005. Yeah, we know that the Aussies have got this knack of being blunt, but then probably this was uncalled for.
Viru's fall from grace - From astronomical batting averages in test cricket to being a bunny, this was a rude shocker. We all knew his attitude problems, his crudeness.. but then still he was India's best opener in several years now. Be it Australia or NZ or England, he had scored everywhere with his questionable technique, and then all of a sudden, he was failing to score on the home grounds as well.. Errrrrrrrr.. another duck!
Harbhajan's Nightmare - I seriously fail to understand how can an offie pitch the ball consistently on the middle stump, and just rely on the doosra to get the wickets.. Who the heck is his advisor..
It was not just the above shockers that proved to be India's undoing. Well, our ODI record overseas was in shambles as well. Yeah, some might say we had never won a series in Windies before, but then I'd say they should have won it atleast 3-0, with the kind of cricket the Carribeans were playing.
Nopes, I don't intend to blame Chappell in entirety, I'm still sure he tried his best, but then I guess this team of record holders (on paper atleast) needs more than a coach. With probably the most experienced bunch of players any team can even think of, they probably need a man-manager who can re-instill some faith and confidence in this team. Its just not possible to make huge changes in this team by plugging in youngsters who have had little or no exposure before. There needs to be a blend of youth and experience(which is very much still there), but more importantly the potential needs to be harnessed. Yeah, we might expect the Suresh Rainas, the Kaifs, the Piyush Chawlas to take over from the seniors, but then for now I guess India probably can't do without its core bunch of players.
Oh dear, I guess the ESPN STAR board can do without the Gavaskars and Shastris for sometime now. Rather get them on board for the team, that can do wonders!
Adios Greg, thanks for what you did for Indian Cricket, I hope it would do well for them in the future at some point of time.