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Chappell says racism behind assault in India

SYDNEY : Former Australian cricket captain Greg Chappell believes he was subjected to a racist attack while coaching India and that the authorities there tried to cover it up, reports said on Wednesday.

He makes the charge in a documentary about his troubled two-year stint as India coach which is to be shown on national television next week, The Australian newspaper reported.

Chappell said he was punched and pushed by a disgruntled fan as the Indian team arrived in Bhubaneswar in Orissa state for a One-day clash against the West Indies in January this year.

“I got hit on the side of the head and my immediate reaction was ‘he’s broken my jaw’,” Chappell said.

“Indians are very quick to complain about racism. There are plenty of Indian cricketers the guy could have attacked but he chose to attack me,” he said.

“I don’t really buy the fact that he was talking about the lack of Orissa players in the Indian team.

“If that was the case why didn’t he accost the chairman of selectors or someone else who might have been involved in the selection process?

“Why would he attack one of the foreigners in the group – me as coach? There’s a bit more to it than that.”

Chappell, who left the post after India’s poor showing at the World Cup, said he was still upset about the attack and the lack of action taken by officials.

“As I said to the BCCI (Board of Control for Cricket in India) in a letter, had it been one of the players who was attacked there would have been an outcry, but because it was me, no one seemed to care,” Chappell told The Australian.

“The reply came back talking about my racist comments. It was quite obvious it was a serious assault. It wasn’t just a push in the back as the media was led to believe. There was a cover-up. Everyone went into cover-up mode. The whole thing was played down.”

The accusation by Chappell follows Australian complaints that Indian crowds racially abused black Australian batsman Andrew Symonds with monkey chants and gestures during a tour last month.

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