Greg Chappell has rated former India captain MS Dhoni as “one of the sharpest cricket minds”, saying his decision-making skills set him apart from his great contemporaries. Greg Chappell, who had a tumultuous two-year tenure as India’s chief coach from 2005 to 2007, had often spoken highly of the two-time World Cup-winning captain who ended his glorious career as one of the country’s greatest players.
MS Dhoni remains the only skipper to win all 3 ICC titles-the T20I World Cup (2007), the ODI World Cup (2011), and the Champions Trophy (2013). After making his debut in 2005, he first became the Indian cricket team’s skipper in 2007 and lifted the inaugural T20I World Cup.
Greg Chappell: MS Dhoni One Of The Sharpest Minds
The Australian cited the example of former retired Indian skipper MS Dhoni while lamenting the absence of natural environments that once played a huge part in the development of players in strong cricket nations.
“The developed cricket countries have lost the natural environments that were a big part of their development structure in bygone eras. In those environments, young cricketers learned from watching good players and then emulating them in pick-up matches with family and friends,” Chappell wrote.
“The Indian subcontinent still has many towns where coaching facilities are rare and youngsters play in streets and on vacant land without the interference of formal coaching. This is where many of their current stars have learned the game.”
One of them is MS Dhoni, who came from the town of Ranchi in Jharkhand.
“MS Dhoni, with whom I worked in India, is a good example of a batter who developed his talent and learned to play in this fashion.
“By competing against more experienced individuals on a variety of surfaces early in his development, MS Dhoni developed the decision-making and strategic skills that have set him apart from many of his peers. He is one of the sharpest cricket minds I have encountered,” Chappell said.
Beginning his career under Sourav Ganguly and John Wright, MS Dhoni began flourishing in the Rahul Dravid-Greg Chappell era, his explosive knock of 183 not out in an ODI against Sri Lanka being of the highlights.
MS Dhoni, however, remained a vital cog of Virat Kohli-led India’s limited-overs side, having retired from Tests in late 2014, till he played his last match in the 2019 ODI World Cup and decided to hang up his boots the following year on Independence day.
Greg Chappell: England’s Batting Has Lost Much Of Its Flair For Not Having Many Natural Environments
Former Australia batter Greg Chappell is of the opinion that coaches need to create environments where players can learn problem-solving and decision-making on their own. Noting England’s struggles in the recently-concluded Ashes 2021/22, Greg Chappell said the problem is with the absence of natural environments for the youngsters to express themselves.
“England, on the other hand, have very few of these natural environments and their players are produced in a narrow band of public schools, with an emphasis on the coaching manual. This is why their batting has lost much of its flair and resilience.”
“The games that young people make and play are dynamic and foster creativity, joy, flexibility in technical execution, tactical understanding and decision-making, which are often missing in batting at the highest levels.”
He added, “Invariably, when an adult gets involved with kids playing cricket, they break up the game and kill its energy by emphasising correct technique. This reduces a dynamic, engaging environment that promotes learning to a flat and lifeless set of drills that do little to improve batting in games.”
Greg Chappell said having highly structured settings is not the right way to go.
“The growth in structured training in the preparation of batters has not only failed to take batting forward, it has actually resulted in a decline in batting. Highly structured environments, and an excessive focus on teaching players to perform “correct” technique, dehumanise cricket.”
The England team was seen without a fight barring the fourth Test match in Sydney, as they were battered and humiliated with increasing levels for the remainder of the four-Test matches. In Brisbane, England lost the series opener by 9 wickets. In a D/N Adelaide Test, Australia routed England by a massive 275 runs.
The humiliation was at its peak in Melbourne when England was bowled out for 68 and lost the Boxing Day Test by an innings and 14 runs when Australia had barely managed 276 runs in their only innings.
James Anderson and Stuart Broad batted out nervous four overs to secure a draw at SCG. The story continued in Hobart, in the second D/N Test, as England was thrashed by 146 runs suffering a collapse in the fourth innings which saw them going from 68/0 to 124 all-out.