It was Adam Gilchirst's sensible and aggressive captaincy that changed the fortunes of the Deccan Chargers in IPL-II, Pakistan all-rounder Shahid Afridi said on Tuesday.
Chargers, who had finished seventh last year, crowned themselves champion in the second edition by defeating Royal Challengers Bangalore in the final on Sunday.
Afridi, who played for Chargers in the inaugural edition, had sparked off a big controversy last year with his suggestion that Gilchrist should replace VVS Laxman as captain of Chargers.
Afridi said his viewpoint now stand vindicated though he never had anything personal against Laxman.
"People misunderstood what I wanted to say. I never meant any disrespect to Laxman who is a top Test player. But I just felt that his captaincy was not aggressive enough for T20 cricket.
"Laxman's captaincy was one of the reasons for the team not doing well in the first year. One can see the difference that Gilchrist brought to the team as captain.
"Gilchrist is one of the best captains I have seen. He leads from the front. He is strong enough to take sensible and aggressive decisions in pressure situations and his backing of the younger players was very impressive.
"This was more or less the same team that played last year. But the captaincy made a big difference to the team Afridi said.
Afridi told reporters though he was disappointed that he could not play for his side this year, he was very happy that the chargers had come from bottom to win the IPL and proved everyone wrong.
Afridi couldn't take part in the IPL this season due to advice from the Pakistan government that players should not travel to India because of tense relations between the two countries after the Mumbai terror strikes.
The IPL, however, was later shifted to South Africa but by that time it was too late for the Pakistani players to get into their franchises for the second edition of the tournament with many teams either suspending or terminating contracts of their Pakistani players.