Lots of hard work needed: Chappell

Indian cricket coach Greg Chappell has been in the thick of things since his arrival in India on the June 15.

updated: February 25, 2007 10:52 IST
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Indian cricket coach Greg Chappell has been in the thick of things since his arrival in India on the June 15. The former Australian captain spoke exclusively to NDTV about his first impressions of Indian cricket. His verdict – talent isn't a problem, all that needed is lots of hard work. NDTV: Thanks so much Greg for joining us for this interview. You have been saying that cricket is not "rocket science" but out there in the middle and with lakhs of expectant hysterical fans in the stadia, sometimes it appears as if cricketers really have to work on a miracle or something. What are the two things that you would like to do to Indian cricket in the run-up to World Cup 2007? Greg Chappell: "I think the big thing is to focus on the things that are important. If we want to be a champion team then there are certain things that must be done. Obviously it's a lot about focus, it's being committed to put the effort in off the field and on the field, to able to play consistently good cricket. Talent, I don't believe is a problem. So really now it gets down to being prepared to work hard enough. If we want to compete with Australia and we want to be better than Australia then we have to work as smart and hard as the Australians do in their preparation, their planning and their execution." NDTV: So is that going to be your benchmark – you are going to tell the Indian team that it's Australia, Australia, Australia, that they have to think of – that's where they have to reach? Chappell: "Not necessarily. We obviously have to take into consideration every team that we play against but if the Australians are the benchmark and it appears that they are, they are Number One on the world in both forms of the game, then they must be doing something right. We need to look at what the things are that they are doing right and adapt them to the Indian culture, the Indian way. You can't necessarily take everything that the Australians are doing and transplant it here into a different country, a different culture and a different ethos. But the fact of the matter is that they do a lot of things well and what they do very well is the basics, they stick to doing the things that they can control very well." NDTV: You have been scrutinising the video clips of our Indian players over the last two days here. What's the good news that you spot there and what's the bad news? Chappell: "The good news is that talent is there in abundance. The guys that have got to this level can play cricket, we know that. They wouldn't have got this far if they didn't have some talent or the mental skills and the ability to cope with everything that comes with playing cricket at this level. So now it's a matter of taking it to the next step. You have to go from this point to the next level. It's going to require things to be done differently. We have to do more of certain things and less of other things, but really, basically focussing on the basics that have to be done well. We need to bat well, bowl well, field well and it takes a lot of energy to do that on the cricket field. It's not just a matter of turning up and hoping it will work on the day. It's preparing yourself physically and mentally to play the game. It's planning for the opposition and the conditions that you are going to be playing in - all of those things. A lot of that needs to be done by the support staff. We need to create the environment that allows the players to focus on their preparation so that they know that when the game starts they are ready to play." NDTV: A candid question and I would like a candid reply – do you think that the coach should have a bigger say in selection? Chappell: "I need to a coach...need to have a good relation with the selectors. I am not convinced that I necessarily need to be a selector, but the relationship with players is very important and the relationship with the selectors as well because they need to be involved with what's going on. They need to understand the vision and therefore the types of players that might be necessary from time to time and when you go to different countries and when you play in different regions with different wicket conditions, different climatic conditions, you might need a different balance in the team, so obviously I need to understand the thinking of the selectors. They need to understand my thinking so I need to have a good relationship with them and I am looking forward to meeting with them soon and being able to discuss all of these things but I am not convinced that I need to be a selector."