MS Dhoni has unbelievable power; best finisher in history: Michael Hussey
Michael Hussey talks about CSK skipper MS Dhoni's temperament, finishing skills and more with Sanjay Manjrekar
In the latest episode of ESPNcricinfo's Videocast, host Sanjay Manjarekar chats up with Michael Hussey, former international Australian Cricketer and one of the finest finishers cricket has ever produced about his career, his art of finishing, Mahendra Singh Dhoni and more.
A reliable finisher, Hussey usually came to bat at a time when his team either needed to accelerate the run rate rapidly or manage an early crisis. Talking about his mantra on how he handled such enormous pressure, Hussey says, "You can either succumb to it, lose your focus, or narrow your focus. I saw pressure as an opportunity to do something special. To take the pressure off, I would think of how it will feel to win at the end of the game, celebrate and be able to get a goodnight's sleep. And that's what got me going."
Hussey played at a time when Australia boasted of one of the most robust middle order, and he gives credit to his teammates as well, "The guy at the other end needs to help too. I was lucky to have a middle-order that helped me with the chase. I loved batting with Ricky Ponting, Andrew Symonds, Michael Clarke and others. They're all fantastic players in their own right and did lend a helping hand in tricky situations". "I was lucky to have a set, rigid pre-ball routine for every single delivery that I faced, which helped me switch on and off in between deliveries," Hussey adds further.
To understand Hussey's approach better, Sanjay Manjarekar uses one of Javed Miandad's theory, "If Javed needed 11 or 12 runs an over, he would try to get at least 8 runs an over because there will invariably be wide or no-balls to compensate for the remaining runs", and asks Hussey if he followed the same mantra. "I tried not to let it reach 12 or 13 runs an over. And I learnt this from MS Dhoni. He is incredible. He believes that he who panics last wins the game. So Dhoni would keep his cool, and keep it longer because the pressure is on the bowler as well. So, Javed rightly says, chances of a wide or a no-ball are higher. And if you can keep your cool longer than the opposition, you can come out on top", responds Hussey.
Hussey believes that the greatest players of the game have a few common traits like, 'They don't hang on to a defeat for too long. If they lose, they move on quickly. They don't let a loss or a win hamper their thinking. They are always consistent, and level headed whether it's MS Dhoni or Ricky Ponting".
Talking about Dhoni’s finishing ability, Sanjay recalls one of India’s game against Sri Lanka in West Indies. Dhoni was on strike, India needed 17 runs in the last two overs and Sri Lanka put their best bowler to bowl the penultimate over. “Dhoni just got 3 runs in that over leaving 14 to get from the last over which was to be bowled by a weaker bowler. That’s seemingly impossible, but then how does Dhoni manage to do this”, asks Sanjay. Hussey, who is full of praises for former Indian captain, claims, "Dhoni is the greatest finisher of all time that the cricketing world has ever produced." He adds, "Dhoni can keep his cool and make the opposition captain blink first. Dhoni also has unbelievable power. He knows that when he needs to clear the ropes he can do it. He has that kind of self-belief. Honestly, I didn't have that kind of belief in myself."
Chennai Super Kings (CSK) is Sanjay's favorite IPL team, and he wants to know what makes them so consistent. Hussey lets out the secret, "Supportive owners who let the Coach Flemming and Captain Dhoni decide how to run the team, excellent chemistry between the coach and the captain, Dhoni’s leadership and lastly the foresight of the owners, Flemming and Dhoni to pick the best players, particularly the good Indian players and then stick with them for as long as possible." This has built an excellent continuity in the team. And once you have continuity, you build relationships and trust that otherwise takes time to grow."
Responding to Sanjay's question on CSK's future after Dhoni moves on, Hussey says, "That's a 60 million dollar question, and I am equally intrigued. I believe the owners would like to keep Dhoni involved in some way or the other. However, whenever the change of guard happens, CSK might want to start all over again, build a brand new team, and use their existing philosophy as they enter the next decade of IPL. It is definitely going to be more challenging in current times."
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