Irfan Pathan's mother thanked me for looking after him: Greg Chappell

Greg Chappell spoke of embracing India during his stint as the Indian coach © Getty Images

Oct 6, 2013

Former Australian skipper and India coach Greg Chappell spoke about Irfan Pathan‘s mother thanking him of for taking care of her son.

“I went to Irfan’s home in Baroda and of course they couldn’t speak much English and of course I couldn’t speak any Urdu. But you look into someone’s eyes and you can understand. Irfan’s mother spoke to my wife and she said “thank you for looking after my son,” Chappell said in an interview with Indian Express.

Chappell also shared his experience of coaching in India.

“Far from regretting the experience, I look back at my time in India with great fondness. Most of my experiences here [in India] were very good. There were parts that I could have done without. But that happens. When I look back it was overwhelmingly positive. It was a wonderful opportunity and a great honour to be asked to coach someone else’s country. I couldn’t coach Australia,” Chappell said.

“Coaching India wasn’t the next best thing, it was the best thing. India is the hub of cricket in the world these days and to work in that environment and try and understand it a bit better… I consider myself very fortunate,” he added.

Shedding light on how he embraced the country, Chappell said, ” I have a copy of the Bhagavad Gita. I read it, I still read it. I have a copy of the Koran. I read that as well. I’m interested in all of that. [Ramesh] Mane the team physio was a Brahmakumari [follower]. We went with him to the temple in Bandra. My wife went to the Hare Krishna temple in Bangalore where they serve meals to thousands of kids. When we went to Pakistan, Saeed Anwar took me to a teaching mosque outside Lahore.”

“I wanted to understand that a bit more because we had Muslim players in our team — Wasim Jaffer, Mohammad Kaif, Irfan and Zaheer Khan. I felt I needed to understand something. I mean I couldn’t speak the language, and I just wanted to understand their world a little bit better, in the hope that that would help me, help them,” he added.

Asked about how the sub-continent players took his ways of embracing their country, Chappell said, ” They might not have been aware of some of it.

 And we got a thrill from the fact that they appreciated that we were looking after their kids. And they were like our kids. Because they were young, they were vulnerable and they needed someone to look out for them.”