Bats Right Hand.
Bowls Right Arm Medium
Bats Right Hand.
Bowls Right Arm Medium
Ashes Tests: 35
Record: 6 wins, 4 loses, 5 draws
Off the Mark
Greg Chappell was undoubtedly Australia’s premier batsman in the 1970’s. His dazzling stroke-play all over the ground made him a feared opponent, but also the ideal teammate. Inheriting the captaincy from his older brother Ian, Greg led Australia through the biggest transition period in its history.
In 35 Ashes matches, Chappell scored 2,619 runs at 45.94. Nothing to be sneezed at, but it was well below his overall average. He finished with nine centuries against England, including a best of 144 at Sydney in 1975.
Chappell’s first Ashes match in charge was one of the most memorable moments of the decade. The one-off Centenary Test at the MCG lived up to the hype, with Australia edging out their rivals by 45 runs. Chappell top-scored with 40 in Australia’s lowly total of 138. The innings was overshadowed by a frightening incident that saw Rick McCosker’s jaw broken by a vicious Bob Willis bouncer. England then crumbled to be all out for 95, thanks to Dennis Lillee’s six wicket haul. Australia’s 419 had several highlights. Firstly, David Hooked bludgeoned Tony Greig for five fours in one over. Then Rod Marsh became the first Australian wicketkeeper to score a Test match ton. Finally, McCosker heroically returned to make an inspiring 25 at number ten. Derek Randall looked to have set up an improbable victory when he fell for 174. However, when Lillee trapped Alan Knott in front, he had five wickets, and Australia had won the match.
The 1982/83 series, which Australia won 2-1, was highlighted by a pair of centuries to Greg Chappell. His first game in the drawn Perth Test, but it was his 115 at Adelaide that really stood out. Chappell moved up from number four to bat at first drop. Both openers made 44, before Chappell and Dyson added 126 for the third wicket. The century was even more satisfying, because it was at his home ground. Geoff Lawson then bowled Australia to victory with nine wickets, before Chappell returned in the fourth innings to steer his side to victory.
Greg Chappell wasn’t just the finest batsman of the 1970’s; he was also one of the all-time Australian greats. His poise at the crease gave Australia the stability it needed form its number four, and his mountain of runs set a precedent for future captains.
It can’t have been easy for Chappell to take over from his brother, especially when people would constantly compare the two. Yet he handled the job with grace and humility, leading Australia to several Ashes triumphs, as well as unrivalled success against the imposing West Indies.
The only asterisk against his captaincy would be the underarm incident of 1981. With New Zealand needing a six off the final ball for victory, Chappell ordered his younger brother, Trevor, to bowl an underarm delivery to Brian McKechnie. The New Zealander couldn’t do much with the delivery, and threw his bat away in disgust. The largely Australian crowd booed Chappell’s decision, and New Zealand has never forgiven him. The captain blamed the heat and mental fatigue for the decision.
One incident shouldn’t tarnish an otherwise unblemished career. Chappell joined his brother in the World Series Cricket revolt, but returned to lead Australia in the early 1980’s. He was able to retire alongside two of his greatest allies (Dennis Lillee and Rod Marsh) before moving into a commentary and coaching career, as well as being a state and national selector.
Played and Missed
Greg Chappell started his career with 108 against England, and finished his career with 182 against Pakistan. In doing so, he became the first batsman to score a ton on debut and in their final match.
Chappell also became the first captain to score a century in each innings of his first game as skipper, with 123 and 109* against the West Indies.
Fielding was something the Chappells prided themselves on. Greg finished with 122 catches in Test cricket, half of them coming against England.
His nagging medium pacers also produced 13 wickets against England.
Chappell made 247* and 133 against New Zealand to give him a record match total of 380 runs.
Cricket Australia is staging the first PRO Camp at the Bupa National Cricket Centre in Brisbane, with 20 of the country’s most promising cricketers gathering for a four-day talent combine.