Why don’t you play along the ground: Former coach Greg Chappell on how he groomed MS Dhoni’s finishing skills

Former India coach Greg Chappell described MS Dhoni as the “best finisher” in the game, and revealed the advice he gave to him when he saw him batting.
Greg Chappell and MS Dhoni.(Getty/PTI)
Greg Chappell and MS Dhoni.(Getty/PTI)
Updated on May 14, 2020 01:28 PM IST
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Hindustan Times, New Delhi | Byhindustantimes.com

Who is the best finisher in modern-day cricket? On being asked this question, several current and former cricketers, coaches, and pundits come up with a similar answer - Mahendra Singh Dhoni. Dhoni, throughout his career, was tasked with taking India to victory in close games, and the former India captain did so effectively. Usually coming down to bat at no. 6, Dhoni showed his ability to stick it out in the middle, and then went for a few big ones late in the game to help his side to a win. Not only for India - he displayed similar abilities with the bat for Chennai Super Kings. Describing Dhoni as the “best finisher” in the game, former India coach Greg Chappell revealed the advice he gave to him when he saw him batting

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. Speaking on PlayWrite Foundation Facebook page, the former Australia cricketer said: “I vividly remember that I was left awestruck when I saw him batting for the first time. He was definitely the most exciting cricketer in India at that time. He used to hit the ball from the most unusual positions. He is the most powerful batsman I have ever seen.” 

He added: “I remember his knock of 183 against Sri Lanka and how he tore them apart. It was power hitting at its very best. The next match was in Pune. I asked MS, ‘why don’t you play along the ground more instead of trying to hit every ball to the boundary’. I just felt if he could take out the risk factor from his game, then he could become a much better finisher.

“So next game we were chasing 260 odd and were in a good position when he got in. I challenged him to not play shots in the air till we reached a winning position. I of course told him to go and win the match but threw a challenge at him.I think mid-way through the innings he asked for a change of gloves and our 12th man RP Singh went out with the gloves. He became back and told me MS is asking if he can hit the ball in the air now.

“I think we needed 4 runs to win teh match and he hit a huge six and left the field with his bat in the air. It was amazing, I think he went on to become the best finisher in the game. He was a great character to be with.

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Chappell further said “I think he was a lot like Adam Gilchrist in his keeping. They didn’t look natural but both had great hands. I think Dhoni did really well with his wicket-keeping as he went on.”

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