Image courtesy of: NDTV
India pace bowler Zaheer Khan has revealed that former head coach Greg Chappell told him that he would never represent his country as long as he was in charge of the national team.
“After he was appointed the coach of the Indian team, he once came up to me and said – ‘Zaheer, you will not be playing for India till I remain the coach’,” Khan told PTI. “I was so taken aback that I couldn’t react for some time. I was totally zapped. Like what do I do now? Do I revolt? Do I speak to the captain about what’s happening? Do I take his comments at face value? Why is he taking it out on me?”
Khan also noted that India went through its “worst and darkest phase” when Chappell was head coach from 2005 to 2007.
“I understood one thing,” Khan added. “This man had agendas and it was getting personal. He had his set ideas and if you didn’t fall in line, then you had to be prepared to fall [down]. He tried to finish my career but I believe I came back even stronger in South Africa during the end of 2006.
“He had some issues with the senior guys in the team. He tried many ways to stop my comeback into the Indian team during the phase when I was out of the team for nearly a year. I came to know later that everytime my name was discussed, he (Chappell) would find means to delay my comeback by 3-4 months.”
During his time out of the side, Khan solely concentrated on regaining his spot in the national team.
“I made a good comeback in South Africa as I decided to put all the negativity that came as a package with Chappell behind me,” he said. “I didn’t want to get insecure.
“You have to understand one thing. A happy bunch wins you matches. We were not a happy bunch. It was a team where someone was using his personal likes and dislikes to control the environment.”
After managing to make his way back into the national team, Khan revealed that he and Chappell did not interact with each other often.
“Well, I didn’t have many interactions with him during that time but I realised that I was winning the battle and he was fighting for a lost cause,” Khan said. “Also, why only Indian cricketers? Why don’t you guys go and ask the current lot of Aussie cricketers about how they exactly feel about Chappell. I can bet that it won’t be much different from what we are saying.”