Former coach says he saw great potential, which Dhoni has fulfilled October 1, 2007

India lucky to have Dhoni as captain - Chappell

Cricinfo staff

Chappell on Dhoni - 'I had foreseen a great future for Dhoni. He has proved his potential and as a leader he has been most impressive' © Getty Images

Former India coach Greg Chappell has praised Mahendra Singh Dhoni's captaincy and said the Indian team is shaping up well under him. Chappell quit as coach after the World Cup earlier this year, ending a two-year tenure with the team.

Though his stint was mired in controversy, Dhoni was one of the successes and Chappell said he had seen a lot of potential in him. Dhoni led an inexperienced team to victory in the ICC World Twenty20 in South Africa, his debut series as captain.

"I had foreseen a great future for Dhoni," Chappell told PTI. "He has proved his potential and has been most impressive as a leader. The Indians are lucky to have a leader like him."

Chappell, currently in India as a consultant for the Future Cricket Academy of the Rajasthan Cricket Association, based in Jaipur, acknowledged India's recent success.

"The Indian team is now doing well," he said. "When I was the coach, whatever I did stood them in good stead. It is up to the others to judge. They have a few exciting players and have already won the ICC World Twenty20.

"The good thing about Indian cricket is that it has a varied environment in which players are groomed differently. The players, like those from far-flung areas, are an example of that."

The current one-day series between India and Australia, Chappell said, would be a close contest, despite a few senior Australian players retiring from the game in recent months.

"The Australian team is in a transition phase. There is no [Glenn] McGrath or Shane Warne. But they are well prepared for the series. They have been working hard and they have to keep intact their supremacy. I believe it will be a hard fought series."

His work at the academy, Chappell said, would not necessarily replicate training methods used at the Centre of Excellence in Brisbane. He inaugurated the academy with Ian Frazer, the bio-mechanics expert who also assisted him when Chappell was with the Indian team.

"It is not right to compare it to Centre of Excellence because that has been running for years now. People like Allan Border [the former Australian captain] work and evolve new techniques for the trainees there. But I assure you that it will be different. We wish to make it one of the most reputed training centres of the world."

Twenty20's growing popularity, Chappell felt, would be a challenge for coaches in adapting to different forms of the game. He did not, though, believe it would ruin a batsman's technique. "There is no question of spoiling the technique. It has brought about a few changes which 50-over cricket too brought along. Now players use heavy bats, footwork is changing and they are hitting much harder than in my day."