Greg Chappell's coaching career has followed a familiar path to his playing days after he agreed to join the Centre of Excellence in Brisbane as the head coach. Chappell, who switched states from South Australia to Queensland more than three decades ago, will fill the post that has remained vacant since Tim Nielsen joined the national set-up last year.
Brian McFadyen, the former Tasmania coach, was in charge for 18 months in an interim role, but Cricket Australia delayed making a full-time appointment because it wanted someone with significant international experience. Chappell was mentioned in the initial search, but Cricket Australia originally hoped the New Zealander John Wright would take the position, and then the other preferred candidates, Dav Whatmore and Trevor Bayliss, gained international appointments. Eventually the journey returned to Chappell who, like Wright, has worked with India.
"I am looking forward to the challenge this position will offer in what is an exciting time, not just for Australian cricket but world cricket as a whole," Chappell, who has a three-year deal, said. "Working with other coaches in the Australian cricketing system and deciding how to make the best possible use of the wonderful facilities we have available to us is something that excites me greatly.
"I believe I have a lot to offer the younger players, especially in the mental area of the game from both a personal and coaching point of view, and have a lot of knowledge when it comes to individual and team preparations for cricketing tours." He will be in charge of all the Centre of Excellence programmes and will also be a consultant to the Australian team, and the Australia A coach.
Chappell said the current situation in Australia was reminiscent of the mid-1980s. "Australian cricket is again going through a period of rebuilding after what has been a very successful era," he said. "We need to ensure we continue this momentum and prepare the right kind of players who can continue our excellent performances of the past."
A former director of cricket at South Australia, Chappell landed the India job in 2005 but left two years later when the team was knocked out in the first round of the World Cup. In South Australia, where Chappell played from 1966 to 1973, he was unable to lift the Redbacks to any trophy success in five years in charge and his most memorable decision with India was to drop the then captain Sourav Ganguly.
Chappell's latest appointment was with the Rajasthan Cricket Association's Centre of Excellence, but he is expected to start at the Australian Academy before the end of the year. He will use his varied experience to develop the country's emerging and established young talent at the Centre of Excellence, which is based at Brisbane's Allan Border Field. A member of Australian Cricket's Hall of Fame, Chappell, the most graceful of batsmen, played 87 Tests, scoring 7110 runs at an average of 53.86, and captained the team in 48 matches.