'Dhoni's method was and is unique' - Chappell
Greg Chappell, the former India coach, has praised MS Dhoni, saying the current India captain had supreme confidence in his skills and had harboured no doubts about his ability to play cricket at the international level.
Dhoni made his ODI debut for India in 2004 but made his Test debut in 2005, while Chappell was coach of the team. "His reading of the game was incredible. He had a calmness and an inner strength which wasn't something I had seen a lot of in other cricketers," Chappell told the Indian Express. "He was very confident. He wasn't cocky but there wasn't any false modesty either. If he thought he could do something, he would go ahead and say he could do it.
"Both in India and Australia you have a lot of players who are afraid to stand up because they feel they might be thought of as being ahead of themselves or setting themselves up for failure. He had no concerns about that. He was supremely confident in his own ability. He had some work to do with his wicketkeeping but you could see he had the basics. I saw him as far more than a one-day cricketer. I could see him as a Test cricketer. And I could certainly see him as a captain."
Chappell credited Dhoni's success as a leader to the his ability to connect with the seniors and youngsters in the team. "His ability in the Indian dressing room to move between the seniors and the juniors was unique. There was nobody else I saw that could compare," Chappell said. "Even some of the seniors struggled with other seniors. Not just physical strength but also an emotional strength … a spiritual strength. He knew who he was. He didn't have any doubts about his ability to play at that level."
Chappell recounted a session he had with the Indian players shortly after he took over as coach: "It was an amazing story of where he [Dhoni] had come from and how he had learned his cricket playing on the streets with his friends, and at each level how he had to prove himself again because each time he came in he was the new boy. He talked very well about how each of those steps had given him something. Some confidence, some experience, some knowledge."
Chappell also said Dhoni's confidence in his abilities and his unique approach to the game had helped him deal with pressures and failure in cricket. "This game is about dealing with failure. Bradman batted 80 times in Test cricket and he only got 29 hundreds. So he failed 51 times. The rest of us have had a huge struggle," Chappell said. "It's only those who accept that they are going to fail a lot and have a belief that their method will work, who will be able to keep at it. Dhoni's method was and is unique. Not many people play like him, but he has immense confidence in it. And that's all that really matters."