Dhoni plans the game better than Ponting, says Mike Hussey
Former Australian batsman, Michael Hussey is one of the rare cricketers to have played under two of the finest captains in history. He played under Ricky Pointing in national team and played with MS Dhoni in Indian Premier League (IPL).
Although the two leaders have had a different career graph, playing and captaining in different eras, Hussey has examined them from very close attach and compared the differences.
Hussey played almost seven years under captaincy of Ponting for Australia and won together three ICC tournaments including the 2007 World Cup and the 2006 and 2009 Champions Trophy. Besides, the former left-hander was a key performer for Chennai Super Kings during a major chunk of their success, which the team achieved under Dhoni, winning the IPL trophy for thrice.
What’s the basic difference between these two great captains, Hussey explains:
“Ricky is just so driven and so competitive in everything that he does,” Hussey told Raunak Kapoor in a chat on YouTube. “He can be playing table tennis in the team room or he can be playing a game of marbles and Ricky would want to win. You’ll do a fielding drill at training and he wants to lead. He wants to set the highest standard.
“If we had the worst nets in the world that we have to practice on, he will be the first one into the net and show that it’s okay. He really leads from the front and he certainly backs his players 100%. That’s probably where the similarity is with MS.”
Hussey shared the CSK dressing room with Dhoni from 2008 to 2013 and later again in 2015, and has been involved in many unforgettable partnerships. In fact, Hussey reckons Dhoni outdoes Ponting as far as some important factors.
“MS is a lot calmer. A lot more measured. And I would say he strategically reads the game slightly better than Ricky. Ricky was a good tactician as well. Fantastic, but the way MS makes some moves out there in the field, I’ll be sort of thinking ‘where’s he going with this?’ Inevitably it might work. How did this come from? He just backs his gut feel. Two different captains but both very effective in their own ways,”
added Hussey, who last month called Dhoni the greatest finisher of all time.
“I think one of the greatest strengths about MS, particularly in a place like India, is his great ability to take the pressure off players, particularly young Indian players. In India, you know what it’s like. It’s a religion over there. Everyone wants it so much, so badly. He just says it’s just a game, just go out there and play. Enjoy. Some days you win, some days you lose. It’s not the be-all-end-all. That’s quite rare I think for a captain, particularly in India.”