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Chappell meets Hyderabadi friend

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Camaraderie: Australian cricketing great Greg Chappell with his friend Siraj Attari on Saturday.
Camaraderie: Australian cricketing great Greg Chappell with his friend Siraj Attari on Saturday.

V. V. Subrahmanyam

Batting maestro floored by the new international airport

HYDERABAD: He was an aristocrat with the willow. And, at 60, Greg Chappell also means what he speaks.

In the city as assistant coach of the Australian team, this cricketing great took time off to meet one of his very good friends – Siraj Attari, a steward of Indian Polo Association. Reason? The common passion to be good at heart which all began at the Raj Mahal Hotel in Jaipur where they met for the first time during a polo season. “I find him to be the perfect human being with commitment, very humble despite having achieved so much,” says Siraj in admiration.

Not surprisingly, Chappell is floored by the blend of the ‘old India and the emerging India’ which he feels is evident when one goes through the city. “I look at this city as a city of people, like most of the Indian cities, and not of places. They are so affectionate and respectful to you like Siraj. The new airport leaves a distinct impression of a modern city. But the core of the old city continues to impress me. It is a wonderful mix,” he explains in an informal chat with The Hindu.

He is fully aware of the fact that tennis sensation Sania Mirza hails from here as does the familiar V.V.S. Laxman. “I had the fortune of meeting her once during a private function sometime back. Very impressive young lady.”

“I believe that the Indians should not only appreciate their successful sportspersons, but also be understanding about the success and failures of sportspersons,” felt Chappell. “We are loved as sporting heroes back home in Australia but are always given the space to move around.” Interestingly, Chappell who has been to the city a number of times, doesn’t really relish the famous Hyderabadi biryani as he prefers vegetarian dishes.

What is his philosophy? “Keep everything simple in life and sport.”


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