Image courtesy of: ESPNcricinfo
Former India batsman VVS Laxman has admitted that ex-head coach Greg Chappell “took Indian cricket backwards”.
Laxman’s comments come after legendary batsman Sachin Tendulkar wrote in his autobiography, Playing It My Way, that Chappell had visited his house and tried to convince him to take over the captaincy from Rahul Dravid prior to the 2007 World Cup in the West Indies.
Tendulkar also revealed that Chappell had threatened to drop Laxman after he refused to open the batting during a match against England in Mumbai.
When asked if this was true, Laxman told NDTV: “This happened in 2006 at the Wankhede Stadium when India were playing England. Yuvraj Singh was picked ahead of me and five bowlers were fielded. We were going to the West Indies for a four-Test series after that and he asked me if I would open.
“I mentioned that back in 2000, I had decided I would not open anymore after it didn’t work for me in the first four years. I was consistent in the middle order. Chappell asked me my age and said – Don’t you think 31 is too young an age to sit at home? I had a very good run under him. I was the second highest run-scorer under him.”
Laxman even went as far as saying that Chappell created the “worst dressing-room I was part of”.
“In 2006, it was the worst dressing room I was part of,” he said. “I have played under various coaches and captains for 16 years but that year was the worst atmosphere in a dressing-room.
“More than anything else, it was very evident that there was an attempt to create a rift. A cricket team is like a family and there is no point in creating a divide between seniors and juniors. It was very unfortunate. The seniors felt very insecure. We never understood why Chappell thought that way when the seniors were playing well.”