New Delhi: It's not very common for a cricketer to say that the "best cricket team" he has ever played is a franchise and not his country but for West Indies all-rounder Dwayne Smith Chennai Super Kings is his top team primarily mainly because of Mahendra Singh Dhoni.
Dwayne Smith. Pic/Atul Kamble
"Chennai Super Kings is the best cricket team that I have ever been a part of. You feel very relaxed in the CSK dressing room. The set-up is such and everything is taken care of. You have a coach like Stephen Fleming and a friend like Suresh Raina. But above all there is Mahendra Singh Dhoni. When I came into the CSK set-up, they make you feel at home and comfortable," the 32-year-old told PTI in an interaction.
The best aspect of Dhoni's leadership is his ability to give a player chance to succeed. "With MS, you can never complaint that you did not get your share of chances. He gives you ample opportunities to succeed and then it's upto you take those chances. He is an honest cricketer, one of the best in the world and has a thinking brain. He would always tell you to not get worried about everything and play freely.
"Over the past couple of seasons, I have tried to closely watch Dhoni and imbibe a lot of things from his captaincy and tried to imbibe that in my game. Certainly, the stint at CSK and interactions with Dhoni has made me a better cricketer," confesses Smith. Smith had an average IPL for CSK this season in which he managed 399 runs in 16 matches at an average of close to 25 and a strike-rate of shade under 120.
"I didn't have a good season but I am not thinking about it too much. I was positive but I don't think there is any point in looking back at the season. It was a simple thing. I was out of form and now I have to practise hard to get back into form," said Smith, who hit a couple of half-centuries in the recently concluded season of the cash-rich league.
Asked if there was any specific reason for his failure in IPL this time, Smith said, "I don't think there was any technical issues. It was a case of lapse of concentration which resulted in bad shot selections. I am working hard on it and hopefully would do well during the upcoming Caribbean Premier League."
Smith will be playing for the Barbados Tridents in the CPL under leadership of Kieron Pollard alongside senior players like Shoaib Malik, Justin Ontong and Robin Peterson to name a few. West Indies' ODI captain Jason Holder will also be playing for the Tridents. About the Tridents' chances in CPL, Smith sounded pretty
"We are a very good team and we have an opportunity to defend the title that we won last year. Also CPL gives us a chance to play in-front of the home crowd. It's a good team that we have put together and we will be hoping for the best result," he sounded positive. But ask him about playing longer format, his answer is no different from that of a Darren Sammy, Kieron Pollard or Andre Russell. "I am very happy playing T20s and ODIs. I have no regrets and I don't miss playing Test cricket at all," concluded Smith.