New Delhi:Stand-in captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni has been lauded as the architect of India's imposing second-Test win over Australia and earmarked as the key figure in the country's cricket future.
India beat Australia by 320 runs on Tuesday to go one up in the four-match series, with the influential Dhoni - standing in for Anil Kumble - described by former India captain Ravi Shastri as "a work of art in progress".
"Dhoni has achieved in a year when skippers don't achieve in a lifetime," Shastri said on Wednesday in the Hindustan Times newspaper.
"Clarity of mind, strength of conviction, originality ... you could go on which his positives."
Dhoni has led India to impressive victories in both Tests in which he stood in for Kumble, with the first being the win over South Africa in their final Test of their series six months ago that secured a 1-1 series draw.
Last year took over as India's limited-overs captain after leading a second-string lineup to the title in the inaugural Twenty20 World Championship.
Shastri said the win against Australia would have whetted Dhoni's appetite for the permanent Test captaincy, but he must wait his turn.
"He has lent a thrust at a transitional moment of Indian cricket. Sooner or later the mantle will pass on to Dhoni, there is no reason why he can't make a fist of it," said Shastri.
"Let's not forget the fruits of a cohesive, united Indian team has largely been skipper Kumble's doing," he said.
The Times of India celebrated victory over the tourists with the headline "India have Aussies for lunch" and also expressed confidence in the future direction of the team under Dhoni.
Its cricket writer Partha Bhaduri said there was "a fresh zeal in the side every time he comes out to lead."
"Right now, it seems Dhoni can hardly put a foot wrong," Bhaduri said.
"India's Test captaincy will be in secure hands after the departure of Kumble."
The Hindustan Times cricket writer Anand Vasu said "Dhoni's leadership in the Mohali Test was typical of the man - energetic, proactive and decisive."
"Kumble will not go on much longer - at the most, home Tests against England following this series - and then Indian cricket will be placed solely in Dhoni's hands."