Posts Tagged ‘Greg Chappell’


Goutham Chakravarthi

It was the most fascinating twenty minutes of the day. Sourav Ganguly and Ian Chappell had spent twenty minutes on air both talking two separate things. Ganguly spoke of Tendulkar’s solid defence. Chappell responded saying Chopra and Sehwag ran well between the wickers and that Gambhir and Jaffer, previously, were walking wickets at the top of the order. “Coming back to the point,” said Ganguly “Tendulkar’s defence is solid. See how he takes his foot out to reach for the ball.”

An all too familiar Indian collapse put Australia on top Photo: Reuters

It was bizarre. May be that is how any conversation between any Chappell and any Ganguly transpires. I didn’t know which was weird: the commentary or India’s batting out in the middle. It had been an hour and half of poor cricket: Gambhir came and went, Sehwag lived on the edge before nicking one to Ponting who promptly dropped it only for Pattinson to send back Sehwag shortly thereafter. Dravid and Laxman look more like the Dravid and Laxman of 1999-00 than of 2003-04. They struggled. Tendulkar and Kohli took India to the brink of lunch when Clarke summoned Hussey to deliver the final over. After 20 minutes of rambling, finally Ganguly and Chappell struck a conversation.

Ganguly: This is a smart move by Clarke. Everyone expected him to bring in Lyon for the last over, but he springs a surprise. Tendulkar has a history against these dibbly-dobbly bowlers. He hated facing Hansie Cronje.

Chappell: Then he must have nightmares facing Kiwis!

I pictured Greg Chappell chuckling at this back home and perhaps throwing a couple of air punches in delight at his brother’s clever retort.

Ganguly: Not sure about that Ian, but am sure you guys have problems. You just lost to them in Hobart last month!

The cameras panned to the Indian dressing room and they were clapping. You’d think for Tendulkar. Surely, they were clapping for Sourav. If you can take out two Chappells in one sentence, it is worth more than the Border-Gavaskar trophy.

I punched the air in delight. At least waking up at 4 in the morning didn’t go waste. We were one up going in to lunch even if the score card said something else!

And that was that! Nothing went India’s way. Even a determined Tendulkar who looked in tremendous form dragged one on to his stumps. It was another day of good fast bowling by the home team. Their lengths to the Indian top-order would have done their bowling coach, McDermott, proud.

Pattinson set up Sehwag and Laxman with the guile of a veteran while Siddle bowled a hostile over to knock over Kohli who had looked very comfortable till then. Between the three quick men, they had India in knots for the third successive innings. Given India’s repeated weak response to good quick bowling, the three quick men will fancy a rich harvest this summer.

Jokes of Indian batsmen’s lack of patience and feet movement fill the entertainment sections of Australian newspapers. “If you want to see fancy Indian footwork, bypass the SCG and take in a Bollywood musical,” read one of the newspapers. And the taunts of No Country For Old Men seemingly now a dig at the Indian middle-order than their own ageing greats.

It has been a miserable time for Indian batsmen over the last one year playing outside of India. No longer can the batting unit continue to surrender meekly. Yes, the Australian bowling has been hostile and good, but the application and hunger they were famous for seems lacking. It is highly unlikely that they will all survive should this series pan out like their last English summer.

All is not lost. There are another four days left in this Test to redeem themselves. Meanwhile, Ponting, Clarke and Hussey will know that two sessions of batting tomorrow could well seal the Test in their favour.


Goutham Chakravarthi

Australia honours Sehwag with the title of Swami

“The best way to play bowlers is go after them. Intimidate them, shake them up, beat them up. All with a smile. Tell the bowler that you are after his dog, money, future and see him wilt and cry,” said Sehwag to a secretly arranged gathering by his ardent supporter Ian Chappell outside Manuka Oval in Canberra late on Thursday. Ian’s brother Greg, famously known to have pushed Sehwag into moving to Japan to try his luck in becoming a sumo wrestler, was seen scribbling down furiously on his notepad ahead of the next week’s batting clinic for the Australian Test batsmen.

A host of former Australian players and current Test stars had made themselves available on the occasion to pick on the genial Indian’s brains. Sehwag, known to be honest with his talk, was giving a lecture on batting following his disciple David Warner’s request that he address the rest of the domestic bashers in Australia before the BBL and see if Sehwag could inspire them into becoming Test batsmen.

“Footwork is an Australian obsession. Quick, decisive feet movement are associated with greatness in your country. In my country, we associate quick feet movement with dancers. So is fitness and preparation,” said Sehwag and in an impromptu jig sat in a wheelchair and faced the bowling of the young quickie Josh Hazelwood and hit him out of the ground much to the astonishment of the gathering. Sehwag continued to biff the deliveries bowled from a bowling machine for a good 15 minutes and finished with a square driven six that went out of the practicing facility and into the ground where Indians were playing the warm-up match and hit Ishant Sharma on his boot injuring him and forcing him to limp off the field putting him in doubt for the Boxing Day Test.

Unconvinced by Sehwag’s methods, Greg Chappell immediately challenged Sehwag to face the greats of the past in a wheel chair and produced the latest version of ProBatter – ProBatter 2.0 – that not only simulates the bowling action and deliveries and speeds of modern bowlers, but of all those who have played the game – including the French maid Adèle who is claimed to have first invented bowling in 1149 A.D. “Fat boy, smacking Josh Hazelwood is an easy task as is flogging this machine. See if you can flog Ponsford, Old, Larwood, Barnes among others,” challenged Greg Chappell.

“Are they your nannies? Never heard of them,” said Sehwag even as the history-steeped gathering let out a collective gasp. In true Indian style, Sehwag called up his mom to seek her blessings (karlo duniya muththi mein) and set out on a rampage against the wild bearded 19th century Englishmen first.

Adjusting to the various chuckers of the time, Sehwag tore into them. One of them, a certain Lord H.R.E Muleman had his shin battered and ProBatter 2.0 had to be retired hurt for a while before Clarrie Grimmett and Bill O’Rielly were scared away by Sehwag who smote them from wide off the stumps to way over square-leg and from leg-stump to square over the point boundaries. In three minutes, Sehwag reduced the superstars from early 20th century to bowling negative lines for the first time in their real and virtual lives combined. Soon enough Larwood was sent back to the mines, as were Old and Trueman. Sehwag even had to battle the 19th century English round armers and the 1910s Aussie quickies bowling with the then slightly bigger sized cricket ball. The challenge ended when Lilliee was badly hurt on his follow through as a Sehwag straight drive caught him on his mouth even as Bill Lawry called him “you beauty” from among the cheering audience.

By the time Sehwag was done he had not only battered ProBatter 2.0, he had won over the entire Australian gathering who were reported to have been chanting “maar veeru maar…. aur maar” (hit them Viru, beat them up!) as if in a trance. With tears in his eyes, Richie Benaud said he had seen many batsmen in his lifetime, but never anyone who decoded batting like Sehwag. Deeply moved by the sagacious Sehwag’s knowledge of batting, he said, “His simplicity is astounding as his is knowledge of the game. I always thought the patch on his head was just a bald spot. I have now realized that it was the halo of an all knowing superior being. He is god to me. I have just received confirmation from the prime minister’s office that the Australian government will honour Sehwag with the title of a Swami.”

Among raucous applause Sehwag was honoured with the title of a swami by the Australian prime minister Julia Gillard in Canberra on Friday. The title was unanimously chosen by the ProBatter 2.0 bowlers who suffered his wrath the previous day. The gave him the tile of Engala Vittrungasaami (please leave us alone, swami!).