Former Australian captain Michael Clarke opined that veteran Indian wicketkeeper-batsman MS Dhoni is an important player for India to keep their World Cup-winning chances alive while pointing out his importance with for the team and the captain with the example of Ricky Ponting. Clarke also came up with the best possible praise for the former Indian skipper.
Clarke’s comments came after India’s glorious seven-wicket win at the MCG riding in the bowling brilliance from Yuzvendra Chahal and the batting heroics of Dhoni. The veteran cricketer had once again started off sluggish on the slow Melbourne track before he went on to score a series-clinching 87 runs off 114 deliveries to help India complete the chase of 231 runs. En route, he weaved an unbeaten 121-run stand with Kedar Jadhav (61*). Dhoni was adjudged as the Man-of-the-series for his 193 runs in the contest, which is the second-highest tally by a batter after Shaun Marsh.
“He [Dhoni] has gone from a Lamborghini to an Aston Martin. He is still unbelievable. There is an adjustment. He is more experienced now, he knows his game better now,” Clarke told Sony Six after the third ODI.
Clarke added: “He acknowledges his partner at the other end more now. When MS Dhoni started, he didn’t need a partner irrelevant of whether his partner got a duck, scored a fifty or a century if they needed 50 off 20 balls, the partner’s job was to get MS Dhoni on strike. Now he knows how important it is for his partner to be able to find that boundary and lead up to MS Dhoni pressing gold. He’s had that in the last two games.”
“It’s a great sign for India cricket. Robin and I were talking about MS Dhoni’s leadership skills and how it helps Virat Kohli out and how important it’s going to be at the World Cup,” Clarke added. “It’s no different from Ricky Ponting. When he stood down as the captain, we all wanted Ricky Ponting to stay around the group because his leadership, his talks about training, his experience helped the team so much and my leadership. I think MS Dhoni’s role in this team is just as big when he was captain of India. It’s just a little different now.”