Jaipur:Greg Chappell's role in the Australian team's scheme of things seemed to be getting even bigger than expected as the former India coach has apparently been given the job to address captain Ricky Ponting's dismal record in India during the Test series starting October 9.
Ponting has scored just 172 runs from 14 innings in India at an average of 12.28 as compared to his overall Test average of 58.37 and 'Guru' Greg was on Thursday seen devoting much of his time on the visiting captain during the three-hour team practice session at RCA's Future Cricket Academy here.
He arrived at the Academy with the first lot of players comprising batsmen only, wearing his trademark round hat and scarf around the neck. Head coach Tim Nielsen reached later with the second lot of players comprising bowlers and all-rounders.
Chappell watched Ponting play his natural shots off fast bowlers locals and Rajasthan Ranji players - on a specially-designed 'conventional fifth-day India pitch' at the RCA facility for around 20 minutes without giving much attention to other batsmen.
He then had a lengthy animated discussion with Ponting after the captain switched to the spinning wicket, apparently telling him how to adjust his techniques while facing an Anil Kumble or Harbhajan Singh on slow Indian pitches.
What actually transpired was out of bounds for the scribes as they had to watch the players from a distance and had to get into the RCA facility only after showing media passes.
Tight security was thrown around the ground with at least 40 police personnel led by senior officers, and private security men, manning the entrance and even the RCA officials were issued special passes.
The former Australia captain, now the assistant coach of the team, in his capacity as head of Cricket Australia's Centre of Excellence in Brisbane has also decided to end his hide and seek with the media with a formal interaction on Saturday.
Chappell, who is also Technical adviser at the RCA, has been unreachable since the Australians landed at the Pink City on Monday and Thursday also he did not go beyond 'Hi people' greetings and waving off hands to the media posse.
Outgoing BCCI Secretary Niranjan Shah had on Wednesday added much spice to Chappell's distance from the media, saying that the stone-faced Australian had courted trouble during his controversial two-year tenure as India coach as he "communicated to the players through the media rather than talking to the players directly".
Australian team media manager Matthew Slade confirmed Chappell would express his views on various issues on Saturday at a press conference.
"Chappell will have a press conference on Saturday. It is better that he put across his views himself through a formal event (instead of any misunderstanding)," Slade said.
"He can answer queries on a range of issues," he added.
Opener Matthew Hayden and vice-captain Michael Clarke, both among the quartet who have Test experience in India others being Ponting and Simon Katich also got attention from Chappell, who had discussions with the two batsmen while slogging at the spinning tracks.
The bowlers were, however, exempted from sending down deliveries and only had catching, throwing and hitting-the-stumps practice.
Later, all-rounder Shane Watson, who batted and bowled today, told reporters that the bowlers were given a bit of rest to 'recover' from yesterday's practice session.
"They (bowlers) had strenuous practice yesterday so they were given recovery time. They will resume bowling tomorrow," he said.