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’Worst days of Indian cricket’ – Harbhajan reminisces Chappell stint

by Wisden Staff 2 minute read

Recalling Greg Chappell’s stint as India coach, former India off-spinner Harbhajan Singh said the days under the Australian’s stewardship were the worst in Indian cricket.

Harbhajan said so in response to Chappell’s earlier comments about the role he played in MS Dhoni becoming a world-class finisher.

Chappell recounted how he had challenged Dhoni to play along the ground, shortly after he produced one of the most devastating innings ever seen in ODI cricket – an unbeaten 183 off 145 balls against Sri Lanka.

In reply to a tweet from Hindustan Times highlighting Chappell’s comments, Harbhajan jokingly wrote: “He asked Dhoni to play along the ground because coach was hitting everyone out of the park. He was playing different games,” before following it up with an angry hashtag that read, “Worst days of Indian cricket under Greg.”

In an interaction on the Facebook handle of the Playwrite Foundation, Chappell had said: “I remember his [Dhoni’s] knock of 183 against Sri Lanka and how he tore them apart. It was power hitting at its very best. The next match was in Pune. I asked MS, ‘why don’t you play along the ground more instead of trying to hit every ball to the boundary?’ 

“We were chasing 260-odd and were in a good position, and Dhoni was playing a contrasting innings to the one he had played just a couple of days before.”

Dhoni finished off India’s chase with an unbeaten 45 that, despite the coach’s mandate, took only 43 balls. He still ended up with two sixes, but Chappell was happy with what he’d seen that day.

“We still needed 20 runs to win and Dhoni asked me, through 12th man RP Singh if he could hit sixes,” Chappell said. “I told him not until the target was in single digit. When we needed six runs to win, he finished the game with a six.

“I always used to challenge him if he could finish the game. There used to be a booming smile on his face, whenever he used to score the winning runs. He is definitely the best finisher the game has ever seen.”

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