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Mixed response to resignation

New Delhi : Greg Chappell's resignation drew mixed response from the cricket fraternity, which is polarised in its opinion about the controversial Australian.

A number of former players, some of whom have played against the former Australian captain, apparently sided with Chappell even though he did not seem popular with others.

Former captain Krishnamachari Srikkanth was unequivocal in his view that Chappell had failed to perform as the coach and his resignation was the lone option left.

``From what we can gather, it looks like he was trying to dictate. It is unfortunate what we are hearing, that he was trying to divide the team. He will not be remembered in Indian cricket because he has not contributed anything.

``(Chappell's predecessor) John Wright will be remembered more because he has given something to the team. Everything has slipped back since Chappell took over,'' he said.

Srikkanth felt Chappell succumbed to the same perform-or-perish mantra, which he advocated as a coach.

``It was his philosophy that you perform or perish. He has not performed and he has perished.

``He is such a great cricketer and batsman and that's why he was trying to force himself and thought he has every right to do whatever he wanted,'' the former opener said.

Former chief selector Kiran More, however, begged to differ.

Lots of pressure

``Chappell is straightforward and an upfront man. And people in India don't like that. He would say it on the face and we don't want to hear that. There is a lot of pressure on players and coach now because of the media,'' said More, during whose tenure Chappell allegedly got a lot of free-hand.

``Whoever is made the next coach, there should be a system in place, not only at the top level but at the state associations as well. BCCI will have to take a strong stance and back the right people. They will also have to find the cause of failure in the World Cup,'' More said.

Former captain S. Venkatraghavan, who was part of the panel that picked Chappell for the job, was terse with his reaction. ``I could not care less,'' he said.

Chappell also found support from former stumper and ex-selector Syed Kirmani who insisted that the Australian was competent enough for the job.

``I wish Chappell had resigned after submitting his report day after tomorrow. I don't want to go into the whole issue but Greg is a very competent person and played at the highest level of the game.

``As far as his recent comments on the team, I'm sure it has been misread and taken out of place. If he criticised some players, it should be seen as a teacher admonishing an erring student,'' he argued.

``Chappell was obviously interested in each of the members of the team and progress of Indian cricket and that explains why he has those comments that appeared in media about senior players.

``He has paid the price for calling a spade a spade,'' Kirmani said.

``I am quite sure Sachin (Tendulkar), or (Sourav) Ganguly for that matter, have played at the highest level but they should not discount Greg's credibility either,'' he said.

Sympathy

Spin legen Erapalli Prasanna admitted he was little confused by the circumstances but still sympathised with Chappell.

``I have been watching TV and listening to different versions that are disgusting and comments which are sickening. Chappell must have got fed up with the whole scenario I guess,'' he said.

``Sachin seems to have said he did not say anything about anybody. I am a little confused who is right and who is wrong. This is a sad day for Indian cricket,'' Prasanna said.

Prasanna felt if Team India had made it to the Super Eight, then things would have been different.

``If the team does not win it's not his fault. Had India reached the Super Eight stage in World Cup, people's reaction would have been altogether different,'' he said.

Former captain Chandu Borde said that the Indian cricketers would have gained from the knowledge that Chappell possessed during the former Australian skipper's 22-month stint with the team.

The Pune-based Borde said that now the Cricket Board should seek out and appoint the best person available for taking up the reins from Chappell irrespective of his nationality. — PTI

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