chappell on culture and leadership

I was fascinated by this article on this morning. It reviews a new book by Greg Chappell where he criticises the Indian cricket team for its performance on the recent tour of Australia. In less than a day it has collected 245 comments and 652 'likes' on facebook. I will neither read the former nor do the latter - but try to think a few thoughts of my own.

The article has its fair share of typically brash Chappellian statements. While I give the advice better than I use it myself, I find myself often saying to people, "find the germ of truth in every criticism". Is there a germ of truth here? How does it apply across in other cultures?

1. Chappell questions whether India develops kids with mental toughness quite like they do in Australia.

"Test cricket for a lot of, not only India, a lot of subcontinent teams, I think it's pretty tough. And the challenge for Test cricket is, without the sort of grounding that we [Australians] had as kids, Test cricket is too hard. It's very demanding mentally, physically and emotionally."

That is such a big call.

2. Chappell questions whether Indian culture is able to create leaders who are able to build teams.

"The culture is very different, it's not a team culture," Chappell said. "They lack leaders in the team because they are not trained to be leaders. From an early age, their parents make all the decisions, their schoolteachers make their decisions, their cricket coaches make the decisions."

That is another big call.

3. I spend a lot of time thinking about Aussies and Indians. With India the mind often turns to the impact of the fatalism and karma inherent to the Hindu worldview. How does that leak out into life in all its fullness - because it will and it does? Could Chappell have a point? With Australia I am often struck by how slow they have been to address their issues with their indigenous people. They are probably 40 years behind New Zealand on this one. This slowness makes them susceptible to the occasional, quite stunning, outburst of racist comment in media and popular culture. Could Chappell be guilty of this?

4. I sense a wonderful study on cross-cultural leadership beckoning with the reading of John Wright's book on his time as the massively successful coach of the Indian cricket team alongside this book of Greg Chappell's which will reflect at some point (I assume) on his own unmitigated failure as the coach of India. The way Wright made that team hum is a case study in facilitative leadership. One of the best sports books I have ever read.

I am currently in India hanging out with students. Today - just today - I wish I was down the corridor chatting with those talking about leadership, rather than the preaching conversation which is meant to be my focus. What a great time we'd have with Chappell.

nice chatting



Paul said…
OK, Greg Chappell - are you struggling to find mental toughness and leadership in an Indian cricketer?

How about one Rahul Dravid?
Hi Paul, obviously not enough of your fellow blog-readers have embraced the joys of cricket, so I felt commpelled to contribute.
There seems to be a lot of 'talk' about the 'culture' of a side but very little about personal integrity of players in terms of what they bring to the table. There seems to be an onus on the coach to change the atmosphere in the dressing room but given how little true 'power' coaches these days seem to have, i wonder just how much they can influence that factor.
Most teams will have two or three (maybe more) strong personalities that will shape and determine what 'feel' exists. Take NZ, it seems obvious that the 'personalities' that shape our 'culture' would be McCullum, Vettori and to a quieter extent Taylor.
If any man can work well with players it would have to be John Wright. I too, enjoyed his book regards his time as Indian Coach and was impressed by how he managed the 'big personalities' in that side. He seemingly found a balance between working with the culture already established and tweaking it to get the most out of the players.
When it comes to Chappell, I suspect that he is probably more interested in imposing his culture rather than working with the best of what is already there?
Anyhow that's enough of my ranting about cricket. Let's hope for a dogged, gutsy performance in the third test.
Thanks, Shannon - I reckon you hit it on the head in your comparison of Wright and Chappell. When the big personalities in the team have got the right stuff that may have a far bigger influence then we realise.
Strauss in England? Dravid and Tendulkar in India? Sangakkara and Jayawardene in Sri Lanka...

On a further cricketing note - last night came close to becoming an epochal day in international cricket. Bangladesh came within a couple of runs of winning a tournament - not just a game. While I admire the resurgence of Pakistani cricket, I wish they had lost on this occasion.

Thanks again


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