Ian Chappell


Bats Right Hand.
Bowls Right Arm Leg-Spin


Bats Right Hand.
Bowls Right Arm Leg-Spin








Ashes Tests: 30

Captain: 16

Record: 7 wins, 4 losses, 5 draws

Off the Mark

Modern day players can thank Ian Chappell for the conditions they play under today. For decades, the Board had suppressed any captain led revolt. Under Chappell, this all changed. His exploits, coupled with the emergence of Kerry Packer as a media mogul, saw players earn what they deserved. It also transformed the sport into something bigger than most people would ever have imagined.

Chappell featured in 30 Ashes clashes, scoring 2,138 runs at an average of 41.11. He also took 31 catches in his Ashes career, which highlights what a good slipper he was. 

His Stint

Chappell’s first match in charge came with the added burden of Australia needing to win to retain the Ashes. In a sign of things to come, he aggressively sent England in on a pitch he felt had a bit in it. The quicks did the early dirty work, but it was the spin of Terry Jenner and Kerry O’Keeffe that combined for six wickets. After having bowled England out for 164, Australia started shakily, but took the lead with Greg Chappell and Jenner at the crease. Controversy struck when English tearaway John Snow almost decapitated Jenner with a bouncer. Granted, it was the first bouncer he bowled, but the crowd didn’t care. When the paceman went to field on the boundary, fans threw cans at him, and one or two even grabbed his shirt. This prompted a walk-off from the English, which halted Australia’s momentum. Ian Chappell took three catches as England made 302 in their second dig. Chasing 223 for victory, Australia’s innings never got going, with Keith Stackpole the only player to pass 30. The 63 run loss confirmed the series defeat, but it did herald a potential change towards attacking cricket.


In 1972, the Chappell brothers combined for a stand of 201 in a partnership that saw both men score centuries. It was the first time Australian siblings had scored centuries in the same innings, and the milestone was capped off with an impressive road win.

The second Test in 1974/75 was another memorable victory for Australia, set up by Doug Walters’ swashbuckling century in a session.  Lillee, Thompson and Walker each took two wickets as England managed 208 on a hostile Perth track. Solid contributions from the top order were iced by a century to Ross Edwards, before Walters unleashed a brutal onslaught on all and sundry in the final session on day two. The incredible knock looked like faltering in the 90’s, only for the pocket-rocket to pull the last ball of the day over the fence for six. Australia was never going to lose after that, and cantered to a nine wicket win.

His Legacy

Ian Chappell was a visionary. He saw cricket as a profession, rather than a game of convenience. While the Board was happy to rake in the record takings, the players were hardly getting a fair slice of the pie. Bill Lawry and others had been sacked for daring to question the Board, but none had done it as vehemently as Chappell. The advent of World Series Cricket earned Australian cricketers the money they deserved, and forced the now under fire Board to reconsider its financial structures.

It was clear that Chappell was a man who wanted the best, not just for himself, but for the entire team. While his hard edge approach didn’t sit well with everyone, it got results. Yet it wasn’t just financially that Chappell helped the team. He played countless knocks with Australia under the pump, while his decision to hand over the captaincy to his younger brother made his off field work more feasible.

Critics will argue that had Chappell played in today’s climate, he would be a very poor man. Even in his playing days, when fines and suspensions were uncommon, Chappell came under scrutiny from match officials. His hotheadedness was a sign of his passion for the game, but at times it did push the boundaries.

Chappell is viewed as one of the key figures in Australian cricket. His decisive actions changed the course of professionalism in this country, and ended years of player discontent. His wise words can now be heard from the Channel Nine box.

Played and Missed

While a noted batsman, Chappell also threw down some handy leg-breaks. His part-time variety earned him six Ashes wickets.

Chappell’s father used to bowl bouncers at him with a real cricket ball to harden him up. He was scolded for backing away from the ball.

Chappell’s favourite shot was the pull; probably a throwback to the years he spent as a child having bouncers launched as his unprotected skull.

The Chappell name is synonymous with captaincy in this country. Ian’s brother succeeded him as skipper, while their grandfather, Victor Richardson, led the country in the 1930’s.

Australia never lost a series while Chappell was in charge (they lost the Ashes in 1970/71, but he was only captain for the final Test).

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