New Delhi: Mahendra Singh Dhoni's brilliant captaincy and Yuvraj Singh's aggression make defending champion India the "strongest contender" to lift the Twenty20 World Championship title in England, feels former coach and Australian captain Greg Chappell.
"It is very hard to predict who will win the trophy. But I think India is the strongest contender to retain the title. Pakistan is unpredictable and Australia too has improved a lot in this format. It will be quite open this time," Chappell said from Brisbane.
"India has slight edge over other teams. It has trump cards like Dhoni and Yuvraj. Dhoni is among the best captains today. Yuvraj was out of colour in IPL but according to me he is one of the most dangerous batsmen in the shortest form of cricket. He will give headaches to rival captains," opined the veteran.
Yuvraj smashed six sixes in an over of English pacer Stuart Broad in the inaugural T20 World Cup in South Africa two years ago.
Chappell said the Indian Premier League experience will be an added advantage for Indian players.
"Indian players are very well prepared after the IPL. But I don't think that performance of players like Yuvraj and Dhoni, who have performed in patches during IPL, will get affected by this so called lean patch."
Chappell was equally impressed with the performance of retired stars like Adam Gilchrist, Shane Warne, Mathew Hayden, and Anil Kumble.
"A talented player can play any form of the game. Seniors have proved that they still have it in them. They had to move on in their careers and everyone has to call it a day. One can not play forever. But I think we will miss players like Gilchrist in T20 world cup," said the former coach.
Chappell was appointed India's coach of India in 2005 but after a series of controversies, personality clashes and India's poor show in the 2007 ODI World Cup 2007 led to his resignation.
Senior players' performance was appreciable, but Chappell maintained that T20 format is meant for youngsters only.
"I think this format is for young and energetic players who have hunger to prove themselves," he said.
Asked about the leadership skills of Gilchrist, who led last year's bottom-placed team Deccan Chargers to the IPL title this year, Chappell said he is not at all that surprised with the Aussie's feat.
"I always knew that he is a very clever captain. He has the courage and conviction. It does not surprise me that his team won the title and he was adjuged the man of the series."
Chappell also praised Rajasthan Royals captain and coach Shane Warne and admitted that Australia missed a clever captain. "It is hard luck for him that he could not be the national captain," he said.
Live Score, News & WC 2019 Updates