Former Australian captain Greg Chappell’s stint as the head coach of the Indian cricket team was marred with a plethora of controversies. Chappell took over as Indian coach in the summer of 2005 and within a few months, Sourav Ganguly was sacked as captain before being ousted from the team.
But, it is not as if there was all doom and gloom during his tenure. Under Chappell, India proceeded to become one of the most successful chasing sides; something that had always been their Achilles Heel. And, one of the players who were at the heart of India becoming a confident chasing team was MS Dhoni.
Greg Chappell, in a recent conversation with Playwrite Foundation, revealed that Dhoni plays a massive role during the resurgence. The former Australian captain admitted of being awestruck when he saw MS Dhoni bat for the first time while also adding that it was him, who helped Dhoni transform from an out-and-out power-hitter to a calculating street-smart 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.” Greg Chappell said.
Chappell went down memory lane and revealed an interesting story after MS Dhoni stroked a whirlwind 183 against Sri Lanka. The former coach revealed that before the next ODI he had urged Dhoni to play along the ground more as compared to just trying to hit every ball out of the ground.
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MS Dhoni is the best finisher the game has ever seen: Greg Chappell
Chasing 262 to win, MS did exactly that by pacing his innings with aplomb. Chappell revealed that with 20 runs still to win, Dhoni asked him if he can now hit a few sixes. To which ‘Guru Greg’ replied “not until the target is in single digits”
Dhoni abided by his coach’s advice and with just six runs to go, did he unleash a six to score the winning runs.
“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,” Chappell revealed.
“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 added.
Greg Chappell added that he loved throwing a challenge of finishing off a game at MS and there would be a brooming smile at his face whenever he used to hit the winning runs. The former coach hailed Dhoni as the best finisher that the game has ever seen.
“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.
Chappell’s controversial two-year-term came to an end post-India’s group-stage exit from the 2007 World Cup.
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