Tuesday, 3 April 2007

This Blame Game Must Stop

image courtesy cricinfo.com

If the reports that suggest a row between the senior players and coach Greg Chappell hold truth, then Indian cricket finds itself in its messiest state in a long time. What I have been unable to fathom is the regular leak of content to the media, especially if it is a report from Greg Chappell. Every one except the intended recipients seems to have the news much in advance.

The 'seniors' have been in the news for the wrong reasons. Let us get this right; to me there are four seniors in the side: Sachin, Dravid, Kumble and Sourav. The first two will not stop the growth of youngsters in the side because there is no threat to their place in the team (at least till the World Cup) and they are players who have proved beyond doubt that they belong and never need to feel insecure.

Kumble, for all I know, is not the kind of player who is going to sabotage a youngster's career. Cast your mind back to February 2001. Kumble braving an injured arm helping a young Harbhajan before the grueling series against Australia is still a vivid memory, and for a player who has always put the team interest first, these things would be last on the list. Sourav has just made his return and he is not to resort to such tactics. So which senior player is Chappell talking about? Harbhajan and Sehwag are two experienced campaigners and if Chappell felt they were acting against the interest of the team, he should have pulled them up personally and had a chat with them instead of going public with his views.

There is a forum that has been given to him to submit his report, and Chappell using his 'friends' in the media to get the news out before it could be discussed in the appropriate forum does not speak highly of his methods. Right from the moment he took over the reins of Indian cricket, he has resorted to his policy of divide and rule. It worked with the ouster of Sourav and he is trying his hand again now.

Another area where Chappell has been found wanting is not understanding his role within Indian cricket. He is not the messiah who is here to clean up the system. He is a paid professional whose job was to ensure the Indian team more victories. Sadly, that never happened. Instead he has played the blame game from day one. There is no denying the fact the coach and captain must be given the side they want. The squad that played the Champions Trophy or the one that travelled to the World Cup was the best India had at that point of time, so there are no excuses. Backing guys like Suresh Raina or a under performing Kaif was not based on logic.

The damage has already been done and there is no point brooding over it. Things can get only better for Team India from this point. Let the BCCI use this as an opportunity to usher in a fresh start. Axing the captain or a major portion of the team is only going to make things worse. Let sanity prevail and selection in the future be based on merit rather than emotion.

Greg Chappell's failure is another reminder on how great players need not make it big as a coach. 7110 Test runs at an average of above 53 did not ensure success as a coach. A proven failure as coach at levels, be it South Australia or the Indian team, I feel he is just not cut out for the job.

He is the one who harped on the 'perform or perish' mantra and it is time Chappell understood he has not performed. The time has come. It is time for the board to look at a new coach who will understand the Indian psyche better and keep the side as one fighting unit, rather than let infighting grow to such an extent it paralyses performance.

The rift between the players and the coach has gone past the point of no return. There is no point in continuing with a coach who does not see the larger picture and work cordially with the players.


madhugr said...

I can see someone's hand is behind this, in ensuring that the "leak" of Chappell reports happen - whether it is someone from the Board or other vested interests, no one knows.

One thing is for sure - none of the ex-Indian players (like Sunil Gavaskar, Kapil Dev) dont like a foreign coach, for whatever reasons.

Two - How does only Chappell's reports get leaked? It happened in Sourav's fiasco in Zimbabwe also? I am sure Greg Chappell is not such a fool to go around leaking his reports.

Three - I do not see any reasons why his rotation policy before the World Cup was wrong - it gave us so many options that earlier didnt exist.

I would like to say that Greg will be ousted and made responsible for the World Cup exit, when he alone is not to be blamed. Thats what ails Indian cricket. No one is willing to stand up and bet his balls that they will improve Indian cricket's standing in World Cricket. The next coach who will be appointed, will goto Bangladesh and win the series. That will have all the media rejoice as though they have beaten Australia in Australia.

Anonymous said...

It is very fair comment on the present row between Senior Players and Guru Greg.Greg is washing dirty linen in open though his vested media friends.He is neither faithful to the board which employed him nor to his players who were at his mercy. Very bad choice of a coach. Mohinder Amarnath might have been a good coach than Guru Greg.Try him for the better if Team India.

Aurindam said...

Chappell did it once and he is doing it again. The situation again seems to be going the same way (Thank God the current captain is not as aggressive and outspoken as the previous one!!) : Choose One - Coach or Captain.
Last time when the situation was on similar lines... The Captain lost. The captain was sacked and kicked out of the team which in long term has yeilded results as we all can see!! Not only the Captain suffered but the team also did (in the long run).
This time, again we have to make the choice about who retains his place. Hopefully we have learnt something from our past experience.

vivekkedia said...

Hi Srikant,

I was reading some posts on net about cricket

i found this
"The best example of such flippant thinking in our entire nation's cricket thinking was the recent remark of Krishnamachari Srikanth, our ex-opener and captain. Speaking on the 'Extraa Innings' show of the World Cup telecast, the man said that if an opener in a one-day match got a slam bang 30 or 40 runs, he must be considered as having done his job. But Jayasuriya, Gilchrist, Hayden, Graeme Smith, de Villiers, Fleming and Gayle --- all of them just don't see it that way, the way they aggressively go on pursuing a century for their team. That's why they are where they are and Srikanth is on the idiot box." at http://www.rediff.com/wc2007/2007/apr/03arvind.htm

I was also watching the show when u commented it,
Certainly if the opener is like ganguly , sachin, sehwag we expect much more than quick 30-40 to win matches, especially since after getting 30-40 he has got his eyes in. but if the opener is sent to pinch-hit then even a quick 30-40 will be enough maybe be like uthappa tried recently

My 2 cents

Dilip said...

I don't agree with you here. This is the usual knee-jerk reaction everyone in our cricket fraternity comes up with whenever something goes wrong and a foriegn coach is at the helm.

First of all, Krishnamachari Srikkanth is not privy to what is happening within our team. Maybe the senior players really do have an ax to grind or Chappell is just blowing things out of proportion. Whatever maybe the case, simply speculating "I don't see how it could have happened" doesn't make for a very intelligent post because you are not arguing on facts.

Secondly as Raj Singh Dungarpur frequently points out, you can only take the horse to the water. You can't make it drink. Chappell can spend all day talking about "process" and "performance" and "fitness" till he is blue in the face but ultimately when the rubber meets the road, if the players don't perform under pressure, perhaps its time for us to re-think whether our mental make-up is good enough to handle such situations.

Thirdly a coach is only as good as his players. If zonal bias is going to prevent that from happening -- in other words (for example) if Tendulkar needs to be around because Sharad Pawar and he are maharastrians, what is the use blaming Chappell for that?

Fourthly it won't matter a dang bit who is the next coach. You could appoint 10 coaches and we will still get beaten by Ireland on a nice summer afternoon.

Until we understand the problem is NOT with the coaches but with

1. our whole system of selecting players,
2. nurturning talent at junior level,
3. our dust bowl pitches,
4. obscenely lucrative non-performance oriented player contracts
5. BCCI zonal politics
6. Xenophobic fear over coaches
7. Unprofessional management

we will never ever become anywhere like Australia.

The fun thing is exactly as madhugr predicted in a post above. We will make Chappell take the fall, appoint Mohinder Amarnath as the coach, beat Bangladesh (even *that* isn't a given) and think Indian cricket is turning around the corner. Rinse, repeat, get beaten by stronger teams and start blaming Amarnath. Loop back and start from this paragraph again.


Ganesh said...


Your comments are very valid and accurate.Greg Chappell should be sacked. To quote Kapil in a recent television interview,
"a coach's primary job is to motivate the players". Since Greg Chappell has failed in his basic job, Greg Chappell needs to be sacked

Another apparent "coincidence" is the criticism of Sachin Tendulkar by Greg Chappell's friends at the same time that he is having a confrontation with the "senior Indian cricketers" led by Sachin Tendulkar.

An appeal to the BCCI- please save Indian cricket by sacking Greg Chappell

Ganesh said...

Another [link=http://www.gamecricket.com/blogger.html]Chappell email leaked to the media[/link]. Dont miss this- this could be the turning point in this whole email leak controversy

Raghunathan Srinivasan said...

Yes, it is starting to appear that Greg is resprting to blame games. He has been doing it since the past 2 years. It is just that since this time he attacked Sachin, its become obvious. He was no doubt a great player, but as a coach he seems to lack man management skills. I hope the Indian board appoints a low profile manager. Someone in the same genre as Mickey Arthur who will not have an ego clash with players.

RAJAMANI said...

I feel that Greg is a straight forward man. In India such men are disliked. When he spoke to the media immediately after the last match, he sounded cut and dry. Media cannot expect a goody goody talker especially when Greg's outfit had just lost badly. My point is that the media should not bay for the blood of the people who practice straight talk. The crux of the whole thing is that the world class batsmen that India had failed to deliver. What can the coach do?

பிரேம் குமார் said...

No.of Players who made thier debut from the year 1996 for each team

India 72
England 70
West Indies 58
Zimbabwe 56
Bangladesh 52
Pakistan 51
New Zealand 49
South Africa 49
Srilanka 43
Australia 38

No. of players played less than 11 matches in INDIAN team from 1996.

It is 31.

The only one player among the 31 who is playing in the team now is Robin Uthappa. for others what Happened?

what does it shows Mr. Srikkanth.
whether BCCI and other state cricket boards fail to produce good cricketers ? or youngsters didn't got enough chance to prove thier talent?

the above statics are not a official one. i just collected it from list of playersfrom wikipedia pages and count it.

PremKumar said...

No. of players who made thier debut from the year 1996

India 72
England 70
West Indies 58
Zimbabwe 56
Bangladesh 52
Pakistan 51
New Zealand 49
South Africa 49
Srilanka 43
Australia 38

No. of players who played less than 11 matches from above 72 in INDIAN team.

it is 31.

The only one player among the 31, still playing with the team is Robin Uthappa. whats Happened to others.

what it will show MR.Srikkanth?
whether BCCI and state cricket boards failed to produce good cricketers? or Youngsters didn't get enough opportunity to prove thier talent?

the above statistics are not official one. i just watch list of players from wikipedia pages and count it. if any thing wrong about my question or this numbers SORRY.

Ash7 said...

Kris.. All I can say is you have hit the nail on the forehead. Chappell has done done more damage to the team than anyting good....

All the time when the team did badly in ODI or Test series he kept harping that he is aiming for the WC, which now has become a cruel joke for us.

He should be immediately shown the door and appoint a non-fancy proffesional coach who has coached from the grass-root level.

Again its shows that Chappell is blaming the blame game just to make sure that he is not singled out.

Satz said...

Dear Krish...I have to agree with certain points raised by dilip particularly in the wake of tendulkar coming out in the open & expressing his hurt on the coach questioning his attitude & commitment to the game...Well one may alwayz say "its a game after all" But when the game is probably the biggest one in your life ,you cant hide behind that statement...Today when we speak about things like "professionalism","attitude","modern approach" etc etc all points to the simple premise that a sport cannot be taken as just a game after all...People pay hard earned money to watch these cricketers play & they want their moneys wrth.Any person who appreciates the value for the same would agree that he/she got his/her money's worht as long as they saw both sets of players who are playing are the best that theirteam could select,The ground conditions are fair & knowledge of the same is openly available & the whole game is played in a fair manner within the framework of the rules ie rules could be bent but not broken...Finally when the game starts a person expects to SEE the players give their best ,their attitude is reflected via many things which any normal person not a psychiatrist need to decipher....I hope everyone understands what I am talking about...& why this Catch 22 situation for the board is going to be a pivotal moment which determines the shape of Indian cricket in the next few years at least

Mala said...

This is the first time in the history of Indian Cricket someone dared to speak about the seniors and their attitude. I understand Greg Chappel has nothing at stake....but for these seniors their career is finished no matter what....so sachin breaks his silence...next another senior and a good treat to media.

No one can take away their laurels of the past years...but one needs to move on...those are not the platforms to continue when one knows heart of heart they are not the same guy anymore.....None of the current so called senior players physically fit. Ganguly could not even take a granted single in all the matches he played.

Greg calling for younger players and wanting to groom them is the right attitude and much needed for Indian cricket. This can happen only when the seniors pave way for them. Otherwise, its just a matter of time, they get pushed out.....

sachin should put his mind instead of heart. Thats what sports needs.

madhugr said...

I think Premkumar has raised a very valid point here - so many players were given chances to play for the Indian team. They havent performed, to sum it up.

What is the Board doing to improve the performance of players? If the senior players are dropped, who will play for India? Is there a second-line? No. Is that Greg Chappell's fault? No.

What is happening to the Talent Scouts?

madhugr said...

All the comments attributed to Greg Chappell are in media whereas Sachin Tendulkar has actually "spoken" to ToI.

Was it not easier for him to pick up the phone and call Greg to check whether it was true or not?

Or is it that Sachin is trying to highlight this so that his dismal performance can be sidelined in this hue and cry?

Anonymous said...

I think it would be better if Tendulkar is appointed batting coach, while appoint Ajit Agarkar as bowling coach. Both of them have been in the international cricket of ages, they know better than anybody else the indian cricket. Maybe, we can appoint kaif as fielding coach.

Phibin said...

definition of Team: a team is a set of players who are well cordinated with each other and understands each other well and they all work together for a common goal....
but did india have a set cricket team for the past one and a half years...NO.. chappel was experimenting with all combinations right till the world cup.. which he him self has admitted before.. then how could the cricketers play as a team.. there was no set team and no one had cosistent batting positions...
why blame the players who have shown their ability time and again...
take the example of anil kumble.. has he ever underperformed during the past 2 years..but still he was kept out he played only 5-6 ODI's in the past 1 year... WHY? coz chappel was experimenting....
i think chappel is just blowing stuff with his media friends...
it was a mistake to take chappell as coach in the first place.. Tom Moody or Mr. amarnath was a better choice...

subra said...

Chappell's one-point program has been to keep Ganguly out and the goal of cricketing success for the Indian team has not come in the way of achieving this objective (of keeping Ganguly out)! I think Gavaskar would do a great job as coach and of course, Mohinder Amarnath is another excellent candidate. We must change the coach immediately to save Indian cricket. Visit my blog to read more on this:

Samik said...

I fully disagree with Mala. When u r questioning about the finess or current capability of senior players,u must decide who are ur younger players who will replace them. Is it like Uthhappa??? He played less than 11 matches and gone to World Cup, was given chance in all 3 matches, and proved to be a total waste....

The problem is in talent searching. Or just swallow the fact that we don't have good talents,so don't deserve to perform good in International Cricket...

Coimbatore said...

You have rightly pointed out Blame game must stop. I believe the domestic competition is the solution. I have seen lot of young players waiting in the ranks to play for India in next couple of years. Let the seniors play the domestic cricket for a complete season and qualify themselves.

I don't think the BCCI will make dramatic changes to the team and management. Greg has resigned on his own (suspicious decision). Bombay Rules!

We need fresh heals and sound minds to carry the Indian team forward. It may not be possible overnight with the current set of players. Only time will tell.

Anonymous said...

Hi Ash7, Ganesh, Kris, Srinivas, Agakanniah, Aurindham,

I want to know from you people who are performers on the field, is it the coach or the 11players. Who knows well about cricket in India is it the 1 Australian or 11 indians. If 11 Indians(5 seniors) on the field know what a cricket is to the indians then they would have not played such a pethetic game.
Aurindham spoke about ganguly and Chappel. If Chappel had not done so, Ganguly would have been in the same bad form. Now he came back hard.
Chappel spoke about the attitude. Did any one of you saw the India matches against Bangladesh and SriLanka the way Indian players batted and Fielded. It shows their attitude. You can find the aggressiveness in the junior players like SreeSanth killer instinct do or die.
That should be there in all 11 players. Chappel expected and tried to develop that instinct in every but failed. Ok, Sack him but who is the next coach. If team(with 5 senior players) cannot win the next tournament will you ask to sack the next coach also.
Then you will find no one to coach india. Niranjan Shah said the right example of horse, you can take it near to the water but you cannot make it drink unless it wants to.

World Cup is the dream of every cricket player and it will be the same with 11 Indian players. And for players like Sachin, Dravid, Ganguly it is final oportunity to get WorlCup to India.
This is known to every one. If they(5 senior players) felt that coach is not doing well, they should have not cared about him, juss go and perform on the field and results will come their way. If results come positive
all these misunderstandings go under that. If this was the attitude of Indian players India would have atleast reached Semis. People would have had faith in seniors.
After comming home with this result then they should have started telling all bad things that Chappel has done to the Indian cricket. People would have supported the players. But now, Sachin should't expect support from every Indian.

My strong feeling is sack all sluggish seniors and give way to juniors who have strong attitude to win and are open to learn from others and listen to coach.

Stop dirty politics in Cricket. BCCI should stop giving preference to Mumbai players and should select players on merit.

stephen marcoz said...

Taking all the recent events into consideration and in also looking back... I get the strong impression that Chappell himself could have leaved all crucial reports to the media...

yeah sure the blame game must stop but not before the nation salutes him.