Is Greg Chappell’s Allegation against Indian Culture True?

Greg Chappell's allegation - Is it true?

Greg Chappell has termed Indian culture responsible for lack of leadership qualities among the Indian cricketers. On both counts, Greg  Chappell is wrong and he has not understood Indian culture.
Greg Chappell has termed Indian culture responsible for lack of leadership qualities among the Indian cricketers. On both counts, Greg Chappell is wrong and he has not understood Indian culture. | Source

Allegation against Indian Culture

Allegation against Indian Culture

The former Australian cricket captain Greg Chappell has alleged that Indian cricketers are not able to shoulder responsibility. Had he stopped with this, opinion would have been divided. But Greg Chappell went a step further and blamed it on the Indian culture. Greg Chappell stated that right from the young age, a person is not allowed to take decisions in India and that decisions are always taken by the parents and school teachers. Yes, Greg Chappell is quite correct as far as the decision taking is concerned. But whether this makes a person devoid of leadership is the moot point.

Many Indian Cricketers Have Shown Leadership Qualities

Let me first take Greg Chappell’s statement that Indian cricketers do not show leadership qualities. This is quite wrong. India has produced many excellent cricket captains like Nawab of Pataudi (Senior), Tiger Pataudi, M L Jaisimha, Ajit Wadekar, Sunil Gavaskar, Saurav Ganguly, Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid, M S Dhoni and Gundappa Viswanath among others. It is not necessary that the person possessing a leadership quality should necessarily be a captain. Managerial qualities need not necessarily be confined to only managers. Even a housewife can possess managerial qualities. Similarly even an ordinary player can show leadership qualities. Gundappa Viswanath has rescued India many times through his superb batting and leadership qualities even though he was not the captain on those occasions. Therefore Greg Chappell’s statement that Indian cricketers do not show leadership qualities is not correct.

Bad Habits Are Rising In the West than In India

Greg Chappell’s other statement that under the Indian culture, decisions are taken by the parents and the school teacher is quite correct. But this is a wonderful culture. By keeping a child under the watchful guard of the parents and the teacher, the child is protected from evil influence, bad company and bad habits. In Western countries including Australia, a child is encouraged to take decisions. On many occasions, this only damages the child. There are more adolescent smokers in the West than in India. There are more teen-aged drinkers in the West than in India. More adolescent and teen-aged girls get pregnant in the West than in India. Dating culture, which is widely prevalent in the West, is either absent or exists under secrecy with fear. I do agree that in the metropolitan cities in India like New Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore and Kolkata, the above evil habits are slowly increasing. But luckily these metropolitan cities represent less than one per cent of India. The remaining 99% of India hold on its culture steadfastly.

Children with Bad Habits Will Pass Them On To Their Friends

When you allow the child to take decisions independently, what will happen? Instead of being guided by the parents or the school teachers, the child will be guided by its peers. Usually this ‘guidance’ always leads the child to a wrong track. A fourteen years old smoker will ask his friend who is twelve years old to smoke his favourite brand of cigarette. He will advice that there is nothing wrong in it. A girl who has many boyfriends will advice her friend also to enjoy the company of boys at a young age.

No Father Will Ask His Son to Smoke

On the other hand, a child in India is protected from all these evil effects. A father will not ask his son or daughter to enjoy smoking. A mother will not advice her daughter to date. A school teacher will not ask his student to enjoy alcohol. Therefore the child grows under the healthy guardianship of his parents and the school teacher. After growing up, it is true that some people fall into bad habits. But many people stick to the culture under which they were brought up and avoid bad habits throughout their life.

Tiger Pataudi possessed leadership qualities

Many Indian cricketers like Tiger Pataudi possessed rich leadership qualities
Many Indian cricketers like Tiger Pataudi possessed rich leadership qualities | Source

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Is Greg Chappell’s Allegation against Indian Culture True?

Grown Up People Are Also Monitored In India

Even after growing up, this monitoring under the watchful eyes of the elders in the family continues many times. Even after getting married, a woman is under the watchful guard of her husband, father-in-law and mother-in-law. Even if the woman is thirty five years old, she does not have the freedom to go to anywhere she wants. She cannot meet anybody she likes. She cannot invite anybody she likes to her house. The West will view this as curbing of one’s freedom. In the West, a woman can go out anywhere she likes. She can stay with any company she likes and invite anybody to her house. Indian culture does not permit all these things.

How Can You Call you’re Wife As Your Wife Is She Can Sleep With Anybody?

The West may think that Indians are suffering from lack of freedom. But it is not true. Freedom is sacrificed for a happy family life. Indians may not be very rich. But they enjoy their family life fully compared to the West. Indian culture is based on possessiveness in the family like ‘my husband’, ‘my wife’, my father’, ‘my brother’ etc. Freedom is traded off to get this happiness. Western happiness is based on material comfort. This is not a true happiness. The freedom enjoyed by the Westerners will take away the family concept. How can you call your wife as your wife if she can stay with or sleep with anybody she likes? At the most you can say that your wife is free.

Ian Chappell Knows India Better Than Greg

But I think all these concepts cannot be truly understood by a Westerner like Greg Chappell. Indian culture will appear meaningless to the Westerners. Different kinds of checks and balances in the Indian society will be mocked at by the Westerners. Similarly Indians also cannot understand and follow the Western culture. Western culture is totally unacceptable to the closed Indian society. I can only pity persons like Greg Chappell when they write or talk about Indian culture. Greg Chappell never visited India during his playing days. He never understood Indian ethos. He never mingled with Indian fans. The heart of India is in its millions of people and not in some dressing room of a cricket side. Greg’s brother Ian Chappell had visited India in 1969 and I think Ian knows about Indian culture better than Greg.

Is Injuring Others A ‘Leadership’ Quality?

Finally I like to ask one question to Greg Chappell. Do Australian cricketers possess leadership qualities? If so, to what extent? Jeff Thomson and Denis Lillee could have easily bowled out the Sri Lankan batsmen in the 1975 World Cup. Sri Lanka was not even a test playing country at that time. But Thomson and Lillee showed their brute force and attacked the skull of the Sri Lanka batsmen. They injured and sent many Sri Lanka batsmen to the hospital. Is this leadership? Ian Chappell, the Australian captain applauded the actions of Thomson and Lillee instead of admonishing them. Is this leadership quality?

Is Blood Thirsty Violence A Leadership Quality?

Thomson and Lillee openly spoke that they wanted the blood of the West Indies batsmen in the 1975-76 test series. They injured many West Indies batsmen also. Greg Chappell was the captain of the Australian team at that time. Is this leadership quality? Mitchell Johnson openly stated in the World Cup in 2011 that he would rather attack Virender Sehwag’s ribcage instead of his stumps. The then Australian captain Ricky Ponting nodded it. Was this a leadership quality? Australian cricketers have degraded cricket to a game of boxing where physical attack, violence and injuries are not only condoned, but appreciated also. Greg Chappell may consider these qualities as ‘leadership’ qualities under the Australian culture, but Indians will not share this opinion. Cricket is a gentleman’s game and it should be played in a gentlemanly fashion. That is true culture.

Learn It from Brazil

Brazil plays even a violent game like football softly without attacking their opponents. They also score goals and win the admiration of the fans. That is true culture. That is true leadership. That is true hallmark of responsibility. Greg Chappell may not understand this. There is no need for anybody to make him understand it. This article is not written with an intention to teach Greg Chappell finer qualities of culture. It is written as a reply to his statement.

Comments 2 comments

SpiffyD profile image

SpiffyD 4 years ago from The Caribbean

I remember reading the article with Chappell's comments. It just seems as though he was trying to pinpoint the reason for India's decline. Such speculation is rife when a team is underperforming. I'm from the West Indies. There are indeed many reasons for the West Indian decline and someone can easily talk about West Indian culture contributing to it.

India was reasonably successful with a similar team. Perhaps Greg just wanted a dig at the team he previously coached. He has bones to pick with senior Indian players and he took that opportunity. I don't think it's a case of analysing whether what he said was true or false. Greg Chappell is not a social scientist - just an average coach.

ramkimeena profile image

ramkimeena 4 years ago from India Author

Dear SpiffyD,

I thank you for your valuable comments. I fully agree with your observations.

Best wishes to you,

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