Greg Chappell was Team India coach from May 2005 till the 2007 World Cup, where India crashed out in the first round. This period is seen as a dark chapter in India’s cricketing history.
Narrating the incident surrounding Greg Chappell and Laxman, which took place during a Test match in Zimbabwe, Manjrekar recalled:
“While a Test match was underway in Harare in Zimbabwe, Greg Chappell went for a practice session with a few substitute players. After 30-40 minutes, he was heading back to the dressing room. On the way, he saw a substitute fielder in the match dropping a catch in the slips. So the coach started wondering, why is there is a substitute on the field, and which regular has come out.”
Providing further details about the incident, Manjrekar continued:
“When he went inside, Greg Chappell saw that VVS Laxman was drinking coffee. So he got a bit angry and asked VVS, why he wasn’t on the field. Laxman replied that he had got injured, so came out of the field to apply some ice on the injured area.”
Greg Chappell had a reaction that stunned Laxman. Manjrekar revealed:
“An enraged Greg Chappell rebuked Laxman and asked, was it life-threatening? Laxman was absolutely shocked thinking, what is he asking? The coach further ordered him that if it is not life-threatening, never come off the field next time. Substitution is something that normally happens a lot in Indian cricket, and other teams do it as well. However, Greg Chappell found it unacceptable. Of course it didn’t help that the substitute dropped a catch, and Greg Chappell ended up giving a senior player like Laxman a piece of his mind.”
Greg Chappell lacked good management skills: Sanjay Manjrekar
Sharing his thoughts on Greg Chappell, Manjrekar opined that while he was undoubtedly a great player, Chappell's skills in dealing with people weren't always up to the mark. Manjrekar elaborated:
“Greg Chappell is a unique character - a great batsman, but he is slightly different. People still remember him in Indian cricket, as he created a lot of headlines even though he was coach for a short period. He was good at cricket, but as coach, he lacked good management skills and seemed like a misfit.”
Greg Chappell played 87 Tests and 74 ODIs for Australia, scoring 7110 and 2331 runs, respectively.