Former India batsman VVS Laxman hit out at Greg Chappell and said the former coach had taken Indian cricket backwards in his two-year tenure from 2005. "Chappell took Indian cricket backwards," Laxman told NDTV in an exclusive interview on Tuesday.
Laxman, reacting to a series of startling allegations Sachin Tendulkar made in his autobiography Playing it my Way, confirmed a lot of what the Master Blaster had to say. The book will be released in Mumbai on Wednesday and is already creating huge amount of interest.
Tendulkar had mentioned that Chappell had threatened Laxman his career would be over after he refused to open in a Test match in India. (Tendulkar Claims Untrue, Says Chappell)
"This happened in 2006 at the Wankhede Stadium when India were playing England. Yuvraj Singh was picked ahead of me and five bowlers were fielded. We were going to the West Indies for a four-Test series after that and he asked me if I would open.
"I mentioned that back 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. Chappell asked me my age and said - Don't you think 31 is too young an age to sit at home? I had a very good run under him. I was the second highest run-scorer under him," Laxman said.
Laxman said Chappell had made the seniors very insecure during his time as coach and there came a phase when players were scared of speaking up openly during team meetings.
"In 2006, it was the worst dressing-room I was part of. I have played under various coaches and captains for 16 years but that year was the worst atmosphere in a dressing-room.
"More than anything else, it was very evident that there was an attempt to create a rift. A cricket team is like a family and there is no point in creating a divide between seniors and juniors. It was very unfortunate. The seniors felt very insecure. We never understood why Chappell thought that way when the seniors were playing well," Laxman said.