|Mahendra Singh Dhoni and Virat Kohli, in Ranchi, on Tuesday. (PTI)
Calcutta: Matthew Hayden, who shared the Chennai Super Kings dressing room with Mahendra Singh Dhoni in the early years of the IPL, spoke to The Telegraph on the latter’s leadership qualities.
Hayden, who retired in early 2009 after 103 Test appearances (8,625 runs at an average of 50.73) and after playing in 161 ODIs (6.133 runs at an average of 43.80), is in India as a TV commentator in the ongoing series.
Besides captaining India across all three formats from November 2008, Dhoni, who boasts an awesome CV, has been leading the Super Kings.
With 24 Test wins, Dhoni is India’s most successful captain in cricket’s premier format. He also has 84 ODI victories and 22 T20 wins.
Now, over to Hayden for the qualities of Dhoni, the captain...
Enormous self-belief: Well, I’ve seen Dhoni play innings which not many batsmen would be able to... He has the belief... Belief in himself and in the team... He’s lost a number of greats along the way... Sourav Ganguly, (VVS) Laxman, Rahul Dravid... Anil Kumble retired just before his first Test as the regular captain and Sachin Tendulkar won’t be there after the next Test series... It has been one big period of transition and Dhoni’s handled it so well, driven no doubt by his self-belief. Barring the odd hiccup, the team has continued to move forward. Despite challenges, owing to this transition, Dhoni’s taken India to a new level.
Keeping it simple: Dhoni keeps it very simple... That helps him and the team... There are, in any case, a lot of people who’d like to complicate things for you.
Jack of all trades: Dhoni’s prepared to do the dishes, make the coffee, hang out the clothes, do the ironing... He may do the latter begrudgingly, though! The point I’m making is that Dhoni has a tremendous work ethic and, clearly, is someone who can do a lot... He runs the hard yards and lets everybody know that’s the standard he expects. A great work ethic leads to a great team.
Loyal towards his players: Being loyal is a great quality to have... I say that because every player will go through tough times and it helps if the captain is supportive. A case in point, I think, is Rohit Sharma... He should thank his stars that he’s got Dhoni as captain... Dhoni’s backed his talent and look at the way Sharma responded. His hundred (141 not out) in Jaipur last week, his first three-figure innings in over three years, could be the turning point in his career.
Finally, his marks to Dhoni on a scale of 10...
I’d give very high marks... I’ve played under quite a few captains and they’ve been excellent at their work. Dhoni’s right up there.