Greg Chappell left his imprint on Indian cricket, says Gloster

The former team India physio shed light on Greg Chappell's tumultuous stint as India's coach between 2005 and 2007, 'Monkeygate' Test and more.

Gloster (not in picture) credits Chappell (L) for nurturing Raina and Dhoni into the Indian side.   -  K. Bhagya Prakash

John Gloster’s four years with the Indian team - from 2005 to ‘08 - were busy, eventful, and fulfilling.

The experienced physio was under coaches John Wright, Greg Chappell, Ravi Shastri and Gary Kirsten. “I’ve been through various phases in the Indian cricket team,” he said to Sportstar on Saturday.

And Gloster has seen several Indian captains - Sourav Ganguly, Rahul Dravid, Anil Kumble and M.S. Dhoni - from rather close quarters.

The South Australian, now married to an Indian pilot and settled in Mumbai, shed light Chappell’s tumultuous stint.

Eye for talent

Gloster said, “Greg had a fantastic eye for talent, had a long-term vision for Indian cricket. He saw a transition phase coming and had guys like Dhoni, Suresh Raina and others ready. He cared for Indian cricket.”

Gloster added, “In fact, I would say that Kirsten and the Indian team benefited from the fruits of Greg’s vision in the 2011 World Cup.”

Then where did it go wrong for Greg, first with Sourav Ganguly and then with a bunch of senior cricketers following the disastrous 2007 ODI World Cup?

Gloster answered, “Perhaps, Sourav expected more help from Greg when things were not working for him as a batsman. Then, probably, Greg was not happy with the team he got in the 2007 World Cup and things started going downhill.”     

He said, “Greg could have handled the media better. But he left his imprint in Indian cricket.”

Talking about Indian captains, Gloster felt Ganguly brought aggression to the Indian team. Dravid, he said, was “both sensitive and tough as skipper, which is a rare combination.”

Gloster served as team India physio under John Wright, Greg Chappell, Ravi Shastri and Gary Kirsten. PHOTO: V. Ganesan

 

Gloster was the India physio when the ‘Monkeygate’ Sydney Test of 2008 happened. How was the dressing room like after the incident? “There was a lot of confusion about who said what. Kumble was the captain and he handled the situation calmly, he bought time.”

Gloster, now with Rajasthan Royals, was with Dhoni when India triumphed in World Twenty20 in South Africa, 2007. Gloster felt Dhoni was a “shrewd, smart captain who thought on his feet.” He said, “That was a momentum-shifting victory coming soon after a nightmarish ODI World Cup.”

Talking about Virat Kohli, Gloster said, “He is not just a great batsman but deserves credit for making fitness a non-negotiable issue.

“I personally think the Yo Yo Test is suited more to Twenty20 and possibly ODI cricket and a two km time trial may be a better option for Tests, but the more important thing is the messaging about fitness. Kohli has put fitness in the forefront and everyone knows about the consequence of failing the test,” he said.

Gloster, however, said the communication to the media around the fitness issues in the Indian team, if improved, would complete the circle of progress. “That’s one area. Within the group there could be communication but outside it? I don’t know who is in charge of it.”

The erudite Gloster is convinced about one thing though - fitness has lent a cutting edge to Indian cricket.