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  Excerpts of´┐ŻChappell Interview ( Related to Sourav)

Source: Sunday Times 22 jan'05
 
 
Personally, are you happy to see a non-specialist opener doing the job on such a big tour?

Well, it's not always the best situation to be in. But in the end, we knew the options that we had and what we were trying to do. It was the best lineup, the most balanced one in the given circumstances.
 
Did you do that to accommodate somebody (read Ganguly) in the first Test?

Not really. We were just trying to get the maximum out of the side that we had. We felt that the best way to do that was to go in with a non-specialist opener. Rahul decided that he would be happy to do it. He made the right choice under the circumstances, and did the job very well too. It's not something that I would like to see as long-term thing though.

 

How do you rate Sourav on current form and fitness?

I don't feel comfortable rating anybody. They are all good players, otherwise they wouldn't be in the squad. Over the next few weeks, however, we will need to work out which player is best suited for the various tasks that we have in front of them and which ones fit into the model that we see as the best way to move forward.

 

It's generally believed that the yardsticks were different for different players. Gambhir remained in the team even though he wasn't scoring; Sourav was out despite making a few in the Delhi Test.

I am not prepared to talk about the selection processes. We have to weigh what's best for the present, and at the same time look at the long term. After Delhi, we decided that was the best squad to take to Ahmedabad. But when we were coming on a tour, and needed to look at 16 players, we obviously looked at things differently.

How much do you involve yourself in the selection process?

Pretty much. We (the captain and coach) don't have a vote so all we can do is talk about what we want to achieve, and about players who we think we need. We give recommendations where necessary and it is up to the selectors to do the rest.

Is there any pressure from outside, from the Board, to include players?

It's hard to talk about it in those terms. Complications will arise as there are so many players available for selection. There may be some pressure but I learnt a long time ago, as a player, that if I worry about things that are outside my control, it's going to be harder for me to do my job.

 

Is this Dravid's team or Chappell's?

As far as I am concerned it's Dravid's team. An awful amount of weight is given to the role played by the coach but there's a limit to what a coach can do. I can create an environment where players can learn and hopefully get better as cricketers. But at the end of the day, it's the captain's team.

 

Why the perception that you are the villain in the Ganguly saga?

I don't know. Maybe, it's just the way I look. But I'm happy to be the villain of the piece if it's in the best interests of the team happy. I suppose if you don't see me 24 hours of the day, under all circumstances, it's hard to get a true picture. I am sure my game face is pretty stern too... when I am focused or concentrating on something I am not laughing or joking very much. But behind the scenes I hope I am a lot more lighthearted than that.

Has the problem with Sourav been resolved?

As far as I am concerned it has been resolved. But nothing is ever resolved forever. And I am not just talking about Sourav. Circumstances change every day. Demands change too. It might come down to selection again but it might depend on what we might need for the next match, the next tour. There will be some players who might believe that because they are in the team today, they will be there forever. But we might decide we need to do something else.

But once he's back in the team, you try and make him comfortable.

I try and not make it a personal issue. Look the player is like a commodity. It's sometimes the hardest part of the job. You might like the players but you have to make a call in the interests of the team. By and large, I think I have done it and I hope I can do it all the time. I have been in a situation when I had to drop my own brother. I did it. It wasn't easy. But if you can separate the personal thing from the emotional thing it can be very easy.

 

Have you been fair to Sourav?

That's a tough call. From my side, I would say, yes I was. But if you ask him, he might say no. I think I've been fair. I've had to make calls on other players as well. Everyone has the opportunity to come back as a better person, as a player.

What is your job once a player is left out of the team?

When somebody is left out, they need some counselling. And it's often the coach's job to do that too. Of course, if there's a perception from the player that the coach doesn't like him as an individual, then it's lot harder to do the counselling.

You did that with Sourav too?

Yes, I did that with him too. And all the other players who have been left out.

What did you tell him?

It's too long a conversation to repeat. But yes, it's a combination of a number of things. Technique, attitude and all those things that are important components of a good team. Well yes, there was some resistance from him to all that.

 

Did you think you might be thrown out during that controversy in Zimbabwe?

No. I had to make some decisions earlier on because I knew that was important to make the team better. I also felt that I'd be given the benefit of doubt for a while as I had just started the job. I didn't have any concerns about being thrown out though.

What is your final destination?

I don't have any final destinations. There are just stops along the way. Each series is a stop. The 2007 World Cup is a big point in that journey. If I can make the players better people, better cricketers, I would get some job satisfaction. If we can become the best that we can become, I would be very happy. That may be No 1, No 3 or No 10. I have no control over that. If we continue to work the way we do, we will win our share of games. My goal personally is to be the best coach that can be.... If we win the World Cup that'd be fantastic.

 

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