Former India coach Greg Chappell says India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni's success as a player at international level must be credited to playing cricket in gullies and parks.
Chappell, who is in India with the Australia U-19 team, says unstructured cricket is the best way to learn as it helps budding cricketers become competitive at an early age.
"Your guys play a lot of cricket, not necessarily organised cricket but in gullies and parks. It's a very important part of learning. In unstructured cricket, you play without the supervision of parents, coaches or elders. Sometimes you play the older guys. The thing is that kids start learning to compete at an early age. The best example is MS Dhoni. This guy is so unique," Chappell told DNA in an interview.
The former Australia skipper said, had Dhoni gone to an academy, he would have been a different player.
"Had he gone to an academy at an early age, he would have been a very different player. I think we love a lot of those natural environments in Australia. But a lot of our young cricketers are exposed to academy-style cricket very early. I am not convinced that's the best way to learn," he added.
The 65-year-old, who coached India between 2005 and 2007, also hinted at coaching Team India once again.
"I am always open to anything. It's unlikely that it's going to happen. I enjoy being with the game. I enjoyed my experience and I am open to further experiences," he said.
His coaching stint was surrounded by controversies where he had a spat with the then India skipper Sourav Ganguly and other seniors in the team.
Chappell is in India for the ongoing Quadrangular Under-19 Series says he is enjoying his current role of coaching the aspiring cricketers.
"It is different. These guys are developing cricketers. At each level, the coaching experience and requirements are quite different. I enjoy working at this level because the young cricketers are very alert and wanting to learn. The focus is very much on the athlete becoming self-sufficient. You want them to make decisions. It's more of a facilitation role where you try and create the environment where they are encouraged to explore and challenge themselves to expand their skills," he added.
Story first published on: Friday, 04 October 2013 18:29 IST