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'No one trusted each other': Harbhajan Singh says Greg Chappell was 'trying to divide and lead'

Indian off-spinner Harbhajan Singh recalled the 2007 ODI World Cup debacle, saying that no one was in the "right frame of mind" under Greg Chappell at the time.

India TV Sports Desk Written by: India TV Sports Desk
New Delhi Published on: June 15, 2020 12:34 IST
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Harbhajan Singh recalled the 2007 ODI World Cup debacle, saying that no one was in the "right frame of mind" under Greg Chappell at the time.

Indian spinner Harbhajan Singh has said that the 2007 ODI World Cup was the "lowest point" of his cricket career. India faced a shocking defeat to Bangladesh in their opening game of the tournament, and eventually bowed out of the World Cup with another defeat to Sri Lanka. Former Australian cricketer Greg Chappell, who had been the coach of the side in 2005, had resigned following India's poor outing in the tournament.

Harbhajan has said that Chappell "disrupted the entire team" during his two-year stint as head coach of the side.

“When Greg Chappell came as the coach of our side, he disrupted the entire team. I don’t know what motive he came with. No one knows how to disrupt a solid team better than him. Only God knows what was his motive. The entire press was under him. He would make them write what he wanted, he used to do whatever he wanted,” said Harbhajan in a conversation with Aakash Chopra on his YouTube show, 'Aakash Vani'.

“The 2007 50-over World Cup has to be the lowest point of my cricketing career. I thought we were going through such a difficult time and I also thought that maybe it is not the right time to play for India. I felt wrong people were at the helm of Indian cricket."

Harbhajan also said that Chappell tried to "divide and lead" the Indian team, adding that no player was in their right frame of mind ahead of the 2007 ODI World Cup.

“I felt these people have come to ruin Indian cricket. Who is Greg Chappell? Why is he doing such things? He was trying to divide and lead, he used to do such things. I don’t know what his motive was,” said the veteran Indian spinner. (ALSO READ: Gary Kirsten recalls how he secured India coach job in seven minutes)

“When I look back at the team that travelled to the West Indies in 2007, it was such a great team. We were just not able to perform as no one was in the right frame of mind, no one trusted each other. When the team is not happy then the results do not go your way.

“That is what happened. Despite having such a strong team, we were out in the first round. We lost to Sri Lanka and Bangladesh, they were not that big teams, it was not like we lost to Australia or South Africa. Sri Lanka played final that year, but I would still think we were a team at par with them. That was the lowest point of my career,” he said.

However, Team India made a strong comeback in the same year as the side lifted the title in the inaugural T20 World Cup. It was almost a complete turnaround for the Indian team. While the squad for the ODI World Cup was expected to win the trophy, the team for the T20 World Cup didn't travel with the expectations to bring the cup home.

“Despite that, we went on to win the 2007 T20I World Cup and everything changed. We got the limelight again, we started playing for India. Greg Chappell was gone. Our Indian coaches Lalchand Rajput, Venkatesh Prasad and Robin Singh - These people worked really hard with the team. The atmosphere had improved. The team started winning again," said Harbhajan.

“A junior team went to South Africa, no one thought we could win. Rohit Sharma, Robin Uthappa, Joginder Sharma were new. Me, Yuvraj, Viru and Agarkar were the only ones who were experienced players. Rest of the team was fairly new. No one thought we could be the world champions, but we became world champions because the atmosphere was so good,” he said.

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