While team India regained its competitive spirit under Sourav Ganguly after the nadir of the match-fixing scandal, it soon went away as Greg Chappell succeeded John Wright in the mid-2000s. Greg Chappell had a long-standing tiff with Sourav Ganguly, who was eventually sacked as captain under his tenure. But Sanjay Manjrekar revealed an incident when the former Australian player confronted VVS Laxman harshly.
Under Greg Chappell, India did perform reasonably well; however, their team bonding went for a toss due to his coaching style. As a hard taskmaster Chappell was, he gave Indian players a run for their money when it came down to fitness and performances. The disastrous 2007 World Cup in West Indies prompted the Indian cricket board to rethink their appointment.
Meanwhile, the incident which Sanjay Manjrekar referred to took place in India’s tour of Zimbabwe in the mid-2000s. The cricketer-turned-commentator revealed that Greg Chappell went for a practice session while a Test was underway in Harare and returned to the dressing room after some time. The 72-year old witnessed a substitute fielder dropping a catch in the slips and wondered which regular player is out of the field.
“While a Test match was underway in Harare in Zimbabwe, Greg Chappell went for a practice session with a few substitute players. After 30-40 minutes, he was heading back to the dressing room. On the way, he saw a substitute fielder in the match dropping a catch in the slips. So the coach started wondering, why is there is a substitute on the field, and which regular has come out,” Manjrekar revealed on Sportskeeda Tales.
Greg Chappell ended up giving a senior player like VVS Laxman a piece of his mind: Sanjay Manjrekar
Sanjay Manjrekar further remembered that Greg Chappell saw VVS Laxman drinking coffee and got angry about why he was not on the field. Laxman responded that he suffered an injury and returned to put some ice on it. Chappell questioned the right-handed batsman whether it was a life-threatening one and ordered him never to come off unless it was as such. Manjrekar believed that Greg found it unacceptable to have substitutes and ended up giving a senior player like VVS Laxman a piece of his mind.
“When he went inside, Greg Chappell saw that VVS Laxman was drinking coffee. So he got a bit angry and asked VVS Laxman, why he wasn’t on the field. Laxman replied that he had got injured, so came out of the field to apply some ice on the injured area. An enraged Greg Chappell rebuked Laxman and asked, was it life-threatening? Laxman was absolutely shocked thinking, what is he asking? The coach further ordered him that if it is not life-threatening, never come off the field next time. Substitution is something that normally happens a lot in Indian cricket, and other teams do it as well. However, Greg Chappell found it unacceptable. Of course it didn’t help that the substitute dropped a catch, and Greg Chappell ended up giving a senior player like Laxman a piece of his mind,” he added.