VVS Laxman has joined the list of former Indian cricket team players who have criticised former coach Greg Chappell. In his latest autobiography ‘281 And Beyond’, Laxman said the former Australia cricket batsman did not know how to run an international team and added that Chappell was ‘rigid and inflexible’ in his approach. Chappell's controversial stint with the Indian team began from May 2005 and ended on April 2007, months after the team had exited in the first round of the 2007 World Cup. Laxman’s book is a candid account of Laxman's cricketing journey right from his early childhood days to playing international Cricket, to the IPL and to being a commentator. Laxman said the goodwill and support which was built-up by Chappell’s predecessor John Wright was all undone.
“Chappell arrived in India to a groundswell of goodwill and support. He left the team in tatters, having played an influential part in the worst phase of my playing career. Results on the field might suggest that his methods worked to some extent, but those results had nothing to do with our coach,” Laxman added. The right-hander went on to say that Chappell sowed discontent in the team and lacked the basic man-management skills. Laxman reiterated that he had tremendous respect for Chappell the batsman but he could not say the same thing as coach.
Laxman pointed out the trust deficit in the team under Chappell’s tenure. “The coach had his favourites, who were well looked after, while the others were left to fend for themselves. The team had disintegrated before our eyes,” he wrote in his book.
Laxman is not the only Indian cricketer to criticize Chappell. Sachin Tendulkar had said Chappell’s tenure was the worst in his career while Harbhajan Singh termed Chappell ‘two-faced’.
Listened to his inner voice
Laxman had a poor tour of Australia in 2011/12, managing just 155 runs at an average of 19.37 as India were whitewashed 4-0. However, the Hyderabad right-hander surprised the world when he announced his retirement in August 2012, just before the start of the Test in front of his home fans against New Zealand. Laxman said he had listened to his ‘inner voice’ and did not leave out of differences.
“My inner voice had not let me down. All my life, my actions had been dictated by this voice, but in conjunction with suggestions from those closest to me. This time, with greater maturity, I had gone entirely by it, disregarding advice from even my father. Sachin was at the NCA, and tried to convince me to defer the press conference. I had seldom disregarded Sachin's advice, but I respectfully told him that this time, I could not honour his sentiments. I told him repeatedly during our one-hour conversation that my mind was made up,” Laxman said.