RAJESH KUMAR - Cricket Statisticians
2020 New Zealand Cricket Almanack

Greg Chappell: Not Out

Hardie Grant Books (Melbourne)
1, 658 Church Street, Richmond,
Victoria 3121 Australia


ISBN 978 1 74379 723 5

Pages 280

Price Australian dollars 34.99

Written with Daniel Brettig, who is currently Chief Cricket Writer for The Age, Greg Chappell, former Australian captain, has provided an insight into the state of the Australian dressing room in the run-up to the infamous Sandpaper gate scandal in his latest book, Not Out.

Chappell, who had amassed 7110 runs at an average of 53.86, including 24 hundreds, with the bat in 87 Tests, criticised some of the dynamics at play in the Australian dressing room prior to the ill-fated 2008 tour of South Africa.

Forty years since the underarm, Chappell takes us inside the secretive world of selection. He tells the story of Twenty20's forerunner Super 8s, and reveals his insights from an eventful stint as coach of India. He speaks frankly on a decade at Cricket Australia, including warning signs he saw ahead of the Newlands scandal, and calls for greater focus on the game's mental skills.

Chappell also unveils a blueprint for the future of Australian cricket, arguing forcefully that the game has drifted too far from the type of lean, hungry system that helped to take the national team to the top.

As a captain, Greg Chappell had an excellent record, aggregating 4209 at an average of 55.38, including 13 hundreds and 19 fifties, in 48 Tests. He had become the first batsman to post a hundred each on captaincy debut - 123 and 109 not out against West Indies at Brisbane in 1975-76. He had won 21 Tests as captain, losing 13 and drawing the remaining 14.

Chappell believes that not only does the captaincy of the individual suffer if they do the job for too long, but their batting is sapped at an escalating rate. "I would have been very happy to play the last two or three years of my cricket career as a batsman only. Because I really needed the mental space to apply to my batting if I wanted to play at the level at which I was going to be happy with myself".

Chappell raises Sourav Ganguly controversy again. "The negatives of him being captain were that we weren't getting the best out of him as a batsman, we were getting disruption and animosity developing in the team as a flow-on from that, and the political implications of any threat to his position were quickly obvious. As it was, Sourav did lose the captaincy and ended up playing for India for another three years - and actually performed marginally better than his overall Test record in that time."

He is full of praise for Rahul Dravid. "India have got their act together and that's largely because Rahul Dravid has picked our brains, seen what we're doing and replicated it in India with their much larger base. I think we've already lost our position as the best at identifying talent and bringing it though. I think England are doing it better than us now and India are doing it better than us also."

In the preface, Greg Chappell says that some truths take time to reveal themselves; in his case, only now does he fully understands many of these episodes, and he is ready to address them with fresh candour. He says this is not his irst book about cricket and life, but it is a final reckoning of sorts. It demonstrates how lessons can take a whole lifetime to sink in, how one's actions can keep on evolving new meanings through the years, and how learning never stops.

Commenting on New Zealand's performance in the ICC's World Test Championship 2019-2021, Chappell says New Zealand, now the reigning world champions of Test cricket, have proven beyond any doubt that it just isn't something you need in your armoury to succeed. In many ways, the type of cricket played by Kane Williamson's team - sound batting with proactive running between the wickets, sharp fielding and precision bowling with a combination of speed, bounce, swing and team - is the kind Australia made their own over many generations before sledging emerged as a tactical weapon.

A wide-ranging book, it is well worth reading, and will provide much to think and talk about.

We are thankful to Kirstie Armiger-Grant, Senior Publicist, Hardie Grant Books, Australia for sending a review copy of the book for our website.