Former India coach and Australia captain Greg Chappell might have courted controversy for his India stint but he remains impressed by MS Dhoni who made his debut during his tenure.
Chappell’s coaching stint was marred by disagreements with a number of players including Sourav Ganguly, Rahul Dravid and Sachin Tendulkar who felt that his imposing style of coaching was hurting the team interests. However, it was under Chappell that Team India overcame the fear of chasing ODI totals by launching 17 wins on the trot while chasing. Dhoni played a crucial role in this transformation, according to Chappell.
During a chat session on the Facebook handle of the Playwrite Foundation, Chappell revealed that it was him who converted Dhoni from a really aggressive batsman to a thinking and calculative finisher.
“I vividly remember that I was left awestruck when I saw him batting for the first time. He was definitely the most exciting cricketer in India at that time. He used to hit the ball from the most unusual positions. He is the most powerful batsman I have ever seen.”
“I remember his knock of 183 against Sri Lanka and how he tore them apart. It was power hitting at its very best. The next match was in Pune. I asked MS, ‘why don’t you play along the ground more instead of trying to hit every ball to the boundary’. We were chasing 260 odd and were in a good position and Dhoni was playing a contrasting innings to the one he had played just couple of days before.
“We still needed 20 runs to win and Dhoni asked me, through 12th man RP Singh if he could hit sixes. I told him not until the target was in single digit. When we needed six runs to win, he finished the game with a six,” he said.
“I always used to challenge him if he could finish the game. There used to be a booming smile on his face, whenever he used to score the winning runs. He is definitely the best finisher the game has ever seen,” he signed off.