Chennai, Aug 22 (IANS) Former Indian bowler Lakshmipathy Balaji has heaped praise on MS Dhoni, saying that the veteran wicketkeeper-batsman had a massive influence not just on Indian cricket but world cricket.
On August 15, Dhoni announced his retirement from international cricket via a social media post, thus bringing an end to an illustrious career spanning 16 years.
“From the year 2000, according to me, there’s nobody like Dhoni who’s had such a massive influence on not just Indian cricket but world cricket,” Balaji said while speaking on Star Sports 1 Tamil show ‘Cricket Connected – Aatam Thodarattum’.
“I have heard about brutal hitting, hard-hitting that when someone hits the ball, it’ll be difficult for a bowler or a fielder to even keep their hands on the ball. I saw that for the first time with Dhoni.
“Even now if there are 20-plus runs needed to win in the last over and if I had to pick someone, it would always be Dhoni. Such massive impact he has,” he added.
The current bowling coach of the Chennai Super Kings franchise further said that Dhoni’s leadership and batting styles are totally different. “His leadership changed the perception of leadership among all captains. The way he maintains his emotion on field, maintaining the team environment and camaraderie, leading the team successfully, only MS Dhoni could do it.”
Balaji also spoke about his conversation with Dhoni during CSK’s practice session on the day the 39-year-old announced his retirement from international cricket. “After practice gets over, I normally talk a lot to Dhoni about the wicket, about practising and playing conditions. So that day, I finished practice and I went inside.”
“I did not realise that he had already put his retirement message at 7:29 pm. So, after posting the message, Dhoni walked up to me as usual and he casually told me that he had asked the groundsman to water the ground extra for the pitch. I said okay.
“And I didn’t realise anything, it was a huge moment in his life. But, just like that, he moved on, and that’s Dhoni for you. I finally realised he announced his retirement. It took some time for me to sink in the moment.
“Dhoni’s uniqueness is the way he is detached. He will never stop no matter what the situation is, and moves on in his own style,” he added.
Dhoni will be leading CSK in the upcoming edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL) slated to be played in the UAE from September 19 to November 10.