SA team 'lost ground under Chappell'
Tuesday Sep 27 17:34 AEST
The South Australian cricket team lost ground when managed by India's
currently embattled coach Greg Chappell, former Redback Paul Wilson
A battle of wills between Chappell and Indian captain Sourav Ganguly,
including the leaking of an email in which Chappell expressed grave
doubts about Ganguly's captaincy, has brought the former Australian
captain's coaching record into focus.
Chappell came to the Indian job with great fanfare in May, and it was
widely reported in India his outstanding record when coaching SA was a
factor in his selection.
But the team's results in his five seasons in SA - no better than
fourth in the Pura Cup between 1998-99 and 2002-03 - were mediocre, and
Wilson said the team floundered under his leadership.
"Greg Chappell's a fantastic individual skills and batting coach, but
he was a poor coach when it came to looking after a group of people,"
said Wilson, who left SA for the 2002-03 season to play for Western
Australia and now coaches the WA women's team.
"When he was with SA a lot of guys fell by the wayside, Greg didn't
seem to worry himself with a lot of the guys and they really didn't
"It's only now under Wayne Phillips that the lost ground is being
Chappell's appointment was partly inspired by the success of Adelaide's
AFL Crows and NBL 36ers, which both won successive premierships with SA
sporting legends as coach - Malcolm Blight and Phil Smyth respectively.
"I think SACA fell in love with the idea of having a cricket icon as
their coach," Wilson said.
In addition to playing, Wilson worked for SACA as a marketing and
development officer during Chappell's tenure.
He said the result of the public relations-driven appointment was a
coach who said the right things and looked the part - but did little to
aid the team's development.
"No real batting talent came through and I don't think he looked hard
enough within his own squad or within the state for the players that
could have improved," Wilson said.
"His opinion seemed to form pretty quickly that this group is not
responding so we'll have to look elsewhere, so they searched for
interstate players and by and large they failed."
Meanwhile, a generation of locally-grown talent drifted out of cricket.
"Brett Swain, Brad Young, Mark Harrity, Ben Johnson, David Fitzgerald,
Jeff Vaughan - there's six guys off the top of my head who are out of
it, either retired or just playing club cricket," Wilson said.
"They got disillusioned, they needed direction, and that's the pity
because they didn't get it."
Wilson said Chappell's assistant Tim Nielsen should have got much of
the credit for player development.
"Tim became a sort of quasi-coach," he said.
"We were competitive but if it wasn't for the coaching of Tim and
Darren Lehmann's captaincy the team really would have fallen in a
Wilson said many players coached by Chappell were surprised he was
appointed Indian coach.
"I hope he does a reasonable job for the sake of Indian cricket, and in
this battle with Ganguly he may actually be in the right, but there
wouldn't be too many guys who played under him in SA who'd be
disappointed to see he's not going all that well over there," he said.