“I remember the day when I knew I’d had enough of playing cricket,” he said. “I looked at the clock and it was five past 11 on a day of play and I thought, ‘S**t, if you’re clock-watching at that time, I have to go’.
“So when it comes to commentary, I’ve been thinking about it. I had a minor stroke a few years back and I got off lucky. But it just makes everything harder. And I just thought with all the travel and, you know, walking upstairs and things like that, it’s all just going to get harder.
“Then I read what Rabbits [legendary rugby league commentator Ray Warren] said with retirement and it really struck home when I read the bit where he said, ‘you’re always one sentence closer to making a mistake’.”
Chappell entered the commentary box towards the end of a playing career of 75 Test matches – 30 of them as captain – and became part of a team of distinctive voices that backgrounded Channel Nine’s broadcasts of Australian cricket for more than three decades, alongside Richie Benaud, Bill Lawry and Tony Greig.
Channel Nine and Chappell enjoyed a long relationship, but not one without the occasional fraught moment.
“Kerry [Packer, the media mogul who owned Channel Nine] wanted to sack me a couple of times,” Chappell said. “He used to get the s***s about one-day cricket, because that was his baby. And I might have said something about one-day cricket. With Kerry it was just like a storm – you’d let it blow over till the next one came.”
When asked how he would like to be remembered as a commentator, Chappell replied: “It’s up to other people to decide what they think of me and some will think I’ve been all right. Some will think I’ve been a pr**k. That doesn’t bother me one bit.”