I know a thing or two about India: Greg Chappell

By Omar Khalid, IANS,

Dubai : Former Australian captain Greg Chappell is looking forward to playing an “exciting” role for the benefit of his team during the four-match Test series against India for the Border-Gavaskar Trophy.

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The former India coach is part of the Australian squad as an assistant coach and intends to use his vast Indian experience for the benefit of the Aussies, who are looking to defend the trophy in India.

“It is exciting. I mean I know a thing or two about the conditions in India and hope our team, especially the young members will benefit from it,” Chappell told IANS in an interview at the Dubai Duty Free, where he was shopping while in transit.

Chappell was the India coach from 2005 – 2007 and still works with the Rajasthan Cricket Academy and that makes him an Australian with loads of Indian experience.

Chappell is aware that he has an important job to do as only four men in the Australian squad have played a Test in India — Ricky Ponting, Matthew Hayden, Michael Clarke and Simon Katich. And he is expecting the series to be a big challenge for the Australians.

On a different issue, Chappell urged the world cricket community to step forward and help save Pakistan going into international isolation following top teams’ refusal to tour the country because of security fears.

“What is happening in Pakistan is very saddening,” he said. “Blasts can happen anywhere in the world these days but Pakistan is sort of a different case. There is too much happening there and it’s quite a dangerous place to visit,” he pointed out.

Pakistan cricket is crying out for help following a disappointing first nine months of 2008 in which top teams like Australia, South Africa, West Indies, England and New Zealand have refused to tour the country, citing security fears.

Australia refused to tour Pakistan earlier this year to play a series scheduled by International Cricket Council’s (ICC) future tour programme, dealing a severe blow to Pakistan and leaving them without a single Test in 2008. Another major blow came last month when the ICC was forced to postpone the Champions trophy till next October after five of the eight competing teams refused to tour Pakistan because of security concerns.

Chappell said that he had a lot of sympathy for Pakistan but was quick to add that teams like Australia and New Zealand have realistic fears about travelling to Pakistan.

“When New Zealand last toured Pakistan, there was a huge bomb blast in Karachi. Their players saw severe loss of human life around them. They were really scared. So are other cricketers,” he stressed.

Chappell said that Pakistan should think about other options till the time the political situation improves there.

“Playing cricket on neutral venues like Sharjah and Abu Dhabi could be a practical option,” he said.