6 min read

10 Questions with Greg Chappell, Australian cricket legend

"That last season, I was starting to struggle to block those things out. Playing at ninety per cent wasn't going to be good enough."
10 Questions with Greg Chappell, Australian cricket legend

COINCIDING with the release of both their new books, Adam Zwar excitedly spoke with legendary former Australian cricket captain and batter Greg Chappell.

"When I was growing up, I used to wear a t-shirt with his face emblazoned on it. I also had a Greg Chappell towel and a Greg Chappell hat," Adam said.

"The great man also features heavily in my book Twelve Summers...but he's also written a book, Greg Chappell Not Out... and it takes in his career in cricket after he stopped playing, including his coaching, selecting and commentating, as well as reflections from his playing days."


To the 10 questions, with Greg Chappell (and a few extras)!

1. When were you most happy?

"Playing cricket was obviously the period of my life where I was doing something I really loved and enjoyed.

"When I got to the cricket ground, there was nothing else to think about... We would have played for nothing. We loved it that much."

2. Who would you like to apologise to, and why?

"I'd like to apologise to our three kids for missing so much of their early years.

"Our daughter, the middle child, Belinda, was seven when I finished playing. She was the one that really struggled with it.

"Her way of coping with it was to pretend I didn't exist; it wasn't so painful that I kept coming and going.

"I'd love to have those years back to make it a better experience for her. We both suffered, I missed as much as [she] missed."

3. What do you regret?

"Not learning to sing or play a musical instrument.

"I missed the boat altogether. Absolutely tone deaf, can't hold a key.

"I would love to be able to walk into a party, play one piece really well, get up and walk away..."

4. What do you still need to do to feel you've lived a satisfactory life?

"We set up The Chappell Foundation...to raise funds and awareness for youth homelessness."

"There's 110,000 people or more in Australia that don't have a place to call home and 40,000 of those are people under 25. This is unacceptable.

"Nobody's immune... No one chooses to be homeless...

"I would love to find a way that we can finance... some sort of scheme that gets rid of homelessness in Australia."

Your brother, Ian, is also involved in charity and altruism. Where does that come from in your family?

"It came from our parents. Both of them were volunteers in just about anything and everything.

"We got a pretty good idea that we had a responsibility as citizens.

"Not everybody was as fortunate as we were and if we were in a position to be able to help...then we should do something."

5. Who is the person who most influenced you, and how?

"It's a good contest. In the early days, our father was a huge influence in our sporting careers.

"Having Ian in the next-door bedroom, putting the prints in the sand to follow as to how to achieve a cricket career, was pretty important.

"In my adult life, [my wife] Judy by far is the most important influence. The two people who have educated me most are Judy and our daughter Belinda."

6. When was the last time you cried, and why?

"Anytime I watch a sad or inspirational movie, particularly if it's around kids.

"It always seems to tug on the heartstrings...when you see how vulnerable a young person is."

Was there any crying among male cricketers in those days?

"No, it was something you tried not to do in front of others. It was the era in which we grew up.

"Our fathers didn't show any pain or emotion.

"Also, having followed a sporting career, you don't want to show you're vulnerable to the opposition."

You have an innate ability to see who's going to make it at an international level. How do you do that?

"Dad was a genius... The genetic inheritance was tremendous, but I think the nurture side was as important, if not more important.

"We had, from a very early age, [information] drummed into us about the game, how to play it, what the traits were...

"I've been watching good players since five years of age... trying to learn what made them good."

7. What's your current state of mind?

"Optimistic and hopeful. I've always been an optimist.

"I think the universe is friendly and it's going to work out pretty good.

"Attitude has such an important role to play."

8. What do you consider your greatest achievement?

"It's all about family. I'm so proud of our three... happy, healthy, independent kids who've gone on and been successful in their own lives.

9. Who would you want on your side in a battle?

"Judy, without doubt. She is so tough and so strong, because she's had to be, bringing up three kids on her own for a big part of it, protecting them and us.

"She's intelligent, courageous, fearless, relentless and resilient."

10. What would you like your last words to be?

"I love you."


Adam remembers Greg's last test innings in January, 1984. He made 182 runs, became the first test batsman to score centuries in his first and last test innings, and overtook Sir Donald Bradman on the list of Australia's highest run scorers.

Here's Greg on that summer.

"I'd been struggling a bit all that summer, and that's when I realised that time was up.

"I'd always been able to get to the cricket ground and everything else fell away, it didn't matter what was happening in the rest of my life...

"That last season, I was starting to struggle to block those things out. Playing at ninety per cent wasn't going to be good enough.

"It certainly wasn't going to satisfy me... I realised, Greg, you're kidding yourself, it's time to move on and get on with the rest of your life."

The pair discussed the Australian TV drama about World Series Cricket, Howzat! Kerry Packer's War, which Adam acted in and Greg advised on.

"I went to the offices of the production company. They wanted me to look at some of the clothing and just see whether I thought it was to the period and so on."

"I was talking to...one of the producers. I said, 'mate, I'm really looking forward to [seeing] this, because I don't remember what we're talking about,'" Greg laughed.

"I thought it was pretty good, and historically, it ran true."

Watch the full series here on 9Now (you'll need to sign up and might have to be in Australia to watch it).


Greg's book Greg Chappell Not Out, and Adam's book Twelve Summers: Being a life-long fan of Australian cricket is harder than it looks, are out now.

Find Adam Zwar on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter


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