New Delhi: The volley of allegations against Greg Chappell continued with former India batsman VVS Laxman saying on Tuesday that the Australian took "Indian cricket backwards" during his two-year tenure as the national cricket team's coach.
"Chappell took Indian cricket backwards," Laxman said when asked to describe Chappell's tumultuous stint as coach from 2005 to 2007. Reacting to a series of startling allegations Sachin Tendulkar made in his autobiography Playing it my Way, Laxman said he totally believed in what the iconic batsman had written in his book.
Tendulkar had mentioned that Chappell had threatened Laxman his career would be over after he refused to open in a Test match in India. "This happened in 2006 at the Wankhede Stadium when India played versus England. Yuvraj Singh was picked ahead of me. We were going to the West Indies for a four-Test series after that and he asked me if I would open.
"I mentioned in 2000 I had decided I would not open anymore after it didn't work for me in the first four years. I was consistent in the middle order since 2000. Chappell asked me my age and said - Don't you think 31 is too young an age to sit at home? I was astonished to hear this. I had a very good run under him. I was the second highest run scorer under him," Laxman told a leading Hindi news channel.
Laxman said the dressing room atmosphere in 2006 was the worst in Indian cricket. Tendulkar's scathing attack on Chappell today received the whole-hearted backing of his then teammates -- Zaheer Khan and Harbhajan Singh besides Laxman -- even as the Australian hit back at the batting maestro's claim that he tried to topple Rahul Dravid as captain.
Asked what policy India should adopt while selecting the coach, Laxman said, "As long as he is capable of and able to deliver, it doesn't matter whether he is an Indian or a foreigner."