Firstly, let me be very clear that I have a tremendous respect for Mr. Ian Chappell the Cricketer and the Captain. He had some outstanding achievements in both roles as being part of Australian squad in days when West-Indian side used to dominate the World of Cricket. However, his recent role as a critic, that begs me to ask a question, if he is slightly too biased towards the Australian Team and some of its players. I very well understand one’s loyalty towards their mother nation, but as a global critic of the game you have to be unbiased on most of the issues.
We all are very aware of his public disliking on Indian maestro Sachin Tendulkar, for whatever reason he has never come out and open-heartedly praised any of the class batsman’s abilities or innings, in fact he’s always keen on criticizing. Master batsman’s innings of 241* at Sydney (2004) was praised by many pundits as the epic monument of concentration, in the light of batsman’s form in that series, but Mr. Chappell described it as a classic example of a great player really struggling. Then, later in 2007, he went on to ask Sachin to retire and declare that Brian Lara was the Best Batsman of all. Nothing wrong with that, Sachin was struggling then, and Lara has been one of the greatest this game has seen, so Mr. Chappell was rightly entitled to his personal opinion, the only problem, though, was that in less than 24 months later he announced Ponting to be the Master of willow and J P Dumminy to be the next best.
So what happened to Lara? In fact when he declared Lara to be the best batsman in the world (March 2007) Lara had already retired. So he couldn’t have done anything to damage his reputation as a batsman. Ponting didn’t do anything extra-ordinary between then and Dec 2008 and J P Dumminy had just played one crucial series against Australia (in Australia) where he came in to limelight. So do J P Dumminy’s achievements of over one and a half month over shadow Lara’s efforts over one and a half decade? Or was it the haste to declare an Australian to be the best in the world. Now two years later, Sachin has won the ICC Cricketer of the year in 2010 and Mr. Chappell hasn’t written a word about it.
Earlier this year he wrote about Sehwag and praised his attacking skills, but didn’t fail to mention that Sehwag was dropped from the test squad in 2006-07 and stayed out for about 12 months. We all know that the decision to drop Sehwag from Tests was the biggest mistake that Indian Selection panel had done and almost everyone in the world was quite aware as to who the main driver behind having Sehwag dropped, however, Ian Chappell didn’t mention a hint regarding that, perhaps because the man behind all this is also a fellow Australian and happens to be related to him.
Last month, just as the first India-NZL test began, Mr. Chappell came up with another shocker of an article, criticizing team India for selecting Rahul Dravid and not Pujara. India is lucky to be facing problem of plenty, but Mr. Chappell chose to see it pessimistically and was in haste to write Dravid off, just like he was to write Sachin off about 44 months ago. However, at the same time, when Australia received a 2-0 drubbing he didn’t write anything. He didn’t wish to address the Australians lack of bench strength in both batting and bowling departments. The whole world watches Ponting slips tremendously in batting form over last two years, managing hundreds only against West-Indies and Pakistan, but Mr. Chappell is not keen on showing Ricky any mirror, is he?
Watching Australia slip from #1 in tests to #5, and Mr. Ian Chappell still preaching almost all the teams in the world as if the house is pretty much in order, reminds of a popular saying: “Those who live in glass houses don’t throw stone at others”.
-Nikhil Sharad Jadhav