Edited By Tarun Vats | TheIndianPaper.com | Updated:
Mahendra Singh Dhoni, who won India the T20 and ODI World Cup under his captaincy, showed in the early months of his career that he has a lot of talent. Former Indian coach Greg Chappell told how he once challenged Dhoni to bat in a style that played him in becoming the best finisher in the world.
Chappell recalled Dhoni’s 183-run knock against Sri Lanka while talking on an online chat with the Playwright Foundation. Chappell said, “I remember when we played the home series against Sri Lanka in 2005. Dhoni scored over 180 runs in a match. He played in a different way, he hit a lot of fours, hit many sixes.
Dhoni played an excellent innings of 183 runs from 145 balls in this match against Sri Lanka in 2005, which is his highest score in ODIs so far.
Chappell said, ‘The next match was in Pune. I remember talking to him about his ability. I felt that if he only tries to hit boundaries and sixes during his career, then perhaps he cannot achieve what he should achieve in cricket.
The former coach said, ‘I felt that if he could learn to hit the ball on the ground as well, even though he was good at putting boundaries, it was a risky way of playing. I believed that if he does, then only he can become one of the best finishers of world cricket.
The former India coach said, “I remember it was a match in Pune, we didn’t want much runs, when Dhoni landed we had 80 or 100 runs left. Then I challenged them not to play the ball in the air. I challenged that the ball is not allowed to hit the air until we win the match.
He said, ‘Fortunately, he accepted the challenge. However I remember RP Singh was the 12th player and during his innings he came to me and said that MS want to know if he can hit the ball in the air. We still needed about 20 runs to win, so I told RP ‘You go back and tell him, he can hit the ball in the air.’
Chappell said that Team India needed 4 runs to win the match in the end and Dhoni hit a brilliant six. Later he came to me and said – Alright coach? Dhoni has played 90 Tests, 350 ODIs and 98 T20 Internationals so far in his career. He has 4876 runs in Tests, 10773 ODIs and 1617 runs in T20 Internationals.