Sunday, January 07, 2007

Chappell's post-mortem on Cape Town defeat

By John Cheeran
Greg Chappell cannot bat for India, unless considering the paucity of talent, chairman of national selectors Dilip Vengsarkar includes him in the team list for World Cup.
Since Vengsarkar is a champion of experience, the idea does not seem far fetched.
But for the time being, Chappell does what he knows best. Putting the knife through India's gyrations on the f ield.
It is not just Chappell who is disappointed with Indian batting, the whole nation is.
"The positive side of it is that some of the young boys performed very well. They showed they have got some skill, some temperament and good personalities for international cricket. Sree's bowling has been outstanding, Zaheer has been very good as well. Kumble has done a pretty good job for us, I don't think he can be criticised for today. It just wasn't a wicket that gave any of the bowlers a great deal of assistance which probably highlights how disappointing our batting was yesterday."
Chappell also said the pitch had not deteriorated as much as expected.
"It offered some targets for the spin bowlers but it really wasn't a minefield," he said.
"The major landing areas of the wicket were pretty good which made our batting effort on Friday that much more disappointing."
Despite the defeat, Chappell had praise for former captain Saurav Ganguly.
"He's done what he was chosen to do, which is to get in there and get runs. His performance on Friday in difficult circumstances, having to be rushed in at the last minute, was exceptional. He's done a good job."
Chappel on Sehwag:
"He's certainly a concern but I don't think he is our only batting concern at the moment," said Chappell. "We are just not getting enough consistent runs. We seem to be losing wickets in batches, which is something you try and avoid in international cricket, particularly in a Test match.
"Looking at the tour as a whole, there are more questions than answers. Over the next week or so, when we get back to India and have a chance to digest what's happened and discuss and debrief, we're going to have to make some decisions on which direction we go. There will be a few guys under a bit of pressure, there's no doubt."
"I don't know that you can say that any decision is a wrong decision," he said.
"It was a calculated decision. He has been an opening batsman, he made 40 in the first innings, and it was a pretty slow, Indian-type wicket. We felt that if any wicket in South Africa was going to suit him, this one would. With a lead of 40, if we had got an hour or so of Virender playing the way he can, all of a sudden that lead would have been 100, and the whole game would have changed.
"The other thing you have to take into consideration is that Karthik did a fabulous job in the first innings, and then kept for 130 overs. I don't think we can ask too much of a young man. We asked a lot of him in the first innings and he delivered as well as anyone could. But you don't necessarily expect a stop-gap opener to be able to do the job continuously."
Sloppy fielding
"What Rahul [Dravid] was trying to do was minimise the number of boundaries to try and stretch that 211 as far as possible," said Chappell. "Obviously, we didn't need them to get away with a string of boundaries early in the day. But to be fair, the wicket didn't deteriorate like a lot of people expected, including ourselves.
"I'm not sure it changed greatly. There were some targets for the spin bowlers but it wasn't a minefield by any stretch of the imagination. The centre areas, the major landing areas, were still pretty good, so I suppose it makes our batting performance of yesterday that much more disappointing. There weren't that many gremlins in the wicket, there weren't that many balls flying around. It wasn't up and down, or staying down. If you were prepared to get in and not do anything silly, then batting was not that difficult."
On Munaf Patel and Harbhajan Singh
"It was never a choice between Munaf and Harbhajan," said Chappell. "We wanted the batting that we had and we wanted the balance of the bowling that we had. To be fair, Harbhajan hasn't bowled for a month, so it was going to be a big ask to push him into the team as well.
"It's very easy to look at things in hindsight and say what if, what if. We made the choices based on what we saw and what we had. It wasn't a fitness thing at all."

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