MS Dhoni is preparing for India’s three-match ODI series against Australia and the Australian team has lauded the former India captain, who is playing down under for possibly the last time.
Dhoni is set to be in action at the SCG (January 12), Adelaide Oval (January 15) and MCG (January 18) after he was picked as India's first-choice gloveman, giving fans a golden opportunity to see him in action.
"I think he is one of the best wicketkeeper-batsmen to ever play the game. He is right up there, no doubt about that, particularly in white-ball cricket. Hopefully, he doesn't get too many runs but it's certainly going to be nice to have him here for a little bit. I'm happy I won't be out there against him," Australia Test skipper and fellow wicketkeeper Tim Paine told cricket.com.au.
As skipper, Dhoni steered India to the No.1 Test ranking in 2009, the 2011 ICC World Cup and the 2007 World T20 title. He also won the tri-series involving India, Australia, and Sri Lanka in 2007-08 down under.
The 37-year-old has 16 international centuries to his name and affected more than 800 dismissals behind the stumps.
"What I do love about watching him play, whether he is batting or keeping and captaining, he keeps things very simple. That's just from what I can see. Cricket is very complicated game and I've enjoyed watching him really simplify it still in this modern age. He just looks like he does the basics pretty well, stays real relaxed and – at his age from the pressure he would be under in India and around the world – he looks like he just loves playing cricket," Paine said.
Another Australian player in Pat Cummins also had only good words to be said about MS Dhoni.
He said, "I think my main memory of Dhoni is just his persona on the field. You've seen him winning IPL tournaments, World Cups, Test matches, incredible victories, and he just picks up the stump and walks off (like) nothing happened. Winning games from impossible positions and he just seems like the most level, calm captain when he's captaining, just play, nothing seems too big a deal, and just can pull things out of his hat like no one else. He's a great ambassador for cricket, being an idol to a billion Indian people back home and he's hugely respected around the world."
Usman Khawaja will be donning the Australian ODI jersey after some time and also put his thoughts forward about MS Dhoni.
"He's obviously a legend of a cricketer but he's such a good bloke and so relaxed. I love playing cricket with him and on the same team because I think we're quite similar in the way we play. He concentrates on the controllables, doesn't worry about the rest, doesn't let a lot faze him, understands there's a lot of up and downs in cricket and I think he's experienced that throughout his career and the way he plays and the way he goes about it. He's one of the guys I really enjoy playing with and he's such a good bloke, so yeah there'll be a big crowd to see him probably one last time in Australia," said Khawaja.
Even Australian ODI captain Aaron Finch paid rich tributes to Dhoni and said, "I think the way that he's led India under the most extreme cricket scrutiny for a long time has been unbelievable. I think that he's obviously one of the all-time greats of the game. It will be a sad day if he doesn't come back to Australia after this tour, he's a brilliant entertainer and someone that people pay money to come through the gates to watch."
Australia v India ODI series schedule:
First ODI: January 12, SCG (D/N)
Second ODI: January 15, Adelaide Oval (D/N)
Third ODI: January 18, MCG (D/N)
(inputs from cricket.com.au)