Exclusive: Does Greg Chappell deserve more credit than Sourav Ganguly for India's success?

Team KT/New Delhi
Filed on June 9, 2021
Sourav Ganguly with Australian assistant coach and former Indian team coach, Greg Chappell, during the 2008 India-Australia Test series in Bangalore. (AFP file)

Suresh Raina reveals in his upcoming autobiography, Believe, What Life and Cricket Taught Me, which will be launched on June 14

Indian batsman Suresh Raina credited controversial Australian coach Greg Chappell for his success in international cricket.

The Australian batting legend’s dispute with the then captain Sourav Ganguly led to the latter’s ouster from the team in 2005.

Ganguly, as a young captain, had a huge role in India’s success after the match-fixing scandal in 2000 had ruined the image of the game.

But after Chappell replaced John Wright as India coach in 2005, his partnership with the Prince of Kolkata didn’t get off to a good start and the relationship soon turned sour.

Ganguly eventually lost his captaincy as well as his place in the team as Chappell formed a new partnership with Rahul Dravid who replaced the left-handed batsman from Bengal as the new skipper of the team.

The Chappell-Dravid partnership enjoyed success initially as their early days also saw the rise of young talents like Raina, MS Dhoni and Gautam Gambhir.

But Chappell’s way of handling the senior players almost threatened the harmony within the team.

Raina, though, said in his new book that the Australian’s influence on the young members of the team could never be ignored.

Raina, a key member of the 2011 Indian World Cup-winning team, heaped praise on Chappell in his upcoming memoir, 'Believe: What Life and Cricket Taught Me'. Raina has collaborated with cricket writer Bharat Sundaresan for the book.

The Chennai Super Kings star even said that Chappell had a big role in developing the talents of MS Dhoni and Yuvraj Singh.

“In my opinion, Greg deserves a lot of credit for shaping that generation of Indian players. The fruits of the seeds he had sown were seen much later, when we won the 2011 World Cup,” Raina wrote.

Under Chappell, India also chased down big totals in one-dayers regularly with the likes of Dhoni, Raina and Yuvraj making a big impact.

Raina, who made his ODI debut in 2005, said the team was successful in chasing big totals because of the work done by Chappell and Dravid behind the scenes.

“He taught us to chase totals. We were all playing well at that point, but I remember him stressing a lot on breaking down run chases at batting meetings. The credit for that goes to both Greg and Rahul Bhai. Eventually, the batting order was fixed very well—Yuvi, Dhoni and me,” Raina said.

“By then, we had learnt how to take the pressure as well as the responsibility of chasing and winning. I picked up a lot of lessons from Greg.

“But I think somewhere along the line, despite all the controversies around his coaching career, he taught India how to win and the importance of winning.”

Raina retired from international cricket last year with 226 ODI caps. The 34-year-old left-handed batsman also played 18 Tests and 78 T20Is.

The Uttar Pradesh player continues to be hugely important member of the Chennai Super Kings at the Indian Premier League (IPL).

(Suresh Raina has collaborated with cricket writer Bharat Sundaresan for his upcoming memoir, 'Believe: What Life and Cricket Taught Me'. The book's been published by Ebury Press)

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