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Did senior players scuttle Dravid’s plans for Team India?

‘Dravid was really invested in India becoming the best team in the world.’
‘Sadly, not everyone in the team had the same feeling. They would rather concentrate on being in the team.’

Australian cricketing great Greg Chappell’s brief tenure as the Indian cricket team’s head coach is one of the most controversial chapters in Indian cricket’s 2000s history.

Chappell took over as coach after New Zealand’s John Wright had a successful tenure with the side led by Sourav Ganguly.

Under Chappell, India suffered a first-round exit in the 2007 World Cup following defeats to Bangladesh and Sri Lanka. The backlash led to Chappell relinquishing his assignment.

Chappell and Ganguly didn’t get along, and some other events that occurred during the dour Aussie’s stint have since been revealed by Sachin Tendulkar, V V S Laxman, Harbhajan Singh and others.

Tendulkar in his autobiography disclosed how he was shocked when Chappell asked him to captain the team a month before the World Cup; Harbhajan termed Chappell a ‘school headmaster’ for the way he operated and ran things.

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More than a decade after he quit his job as India’s head coach, Chappell has now opened up about Rahul Dravid and Ganguly, who now heads the BCCI.

Chappell explained how former skipper Rahul Dravid wanted India to strive for the best, but did not receive support from some of his team-mates.

Chappell pointed out that he spotted ‘resistance’ in some players, and that did not work well for the team back in the day.

‘Dravid was really invested in India becoming the best team in the world. Sadly, not everyone in the team had the same feeling. They would rather concentrate on being in the team,’ Chappell revealed on the Cricket Life Stories podcast.

‘There was some resistance from some of the senior players, because some of them were coming to the end of their careers,’ Chappell added.

The ‘resistance’, Chappell mentioned, played a role in him leaving his role as India coach.

‘When Sourav got dropped from the team, we had a lot of attention from the players, because they realised if he can go, anyone can go,’ Chappell recalled.

‘We had a great 12 months, but then the resistance got too much, Ganguly came back into the team,’ Chappell added. ‘The message from the players was loud and clear — ‘We don’t want change.’ Even though the board offered me a new contract, I decided that I did not need that kind of stress.’

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