Chennai: Former Australian cricketer Michael Hussey, who has played a lot under the captaincy of M.S. Dhoni in Chennai Super Kings, feels the India superstar deserves to go out on his own terms. “He has done so much for cricket in this country. If he believes he can play the next World Cup, who is to doubt him? He is a very modest and honest man. So he will be honest with himself. If he thinks that he cannot contribute to the team and help India win the World Cup, I don't think he will be there. But if he believes in his heart that he can contribute to the team's success and be a positive influence on the team, he deserves every chance of playing in the next World Cup,” added Hussey who is here for the TNPL.
Hussey said the 36-year-old Dhoni is one of the fittest players in world cricket now. “He knows his game and he looks after his body well. With the advancement in sports science, cricketers can play a lot longer. You can see the players performing well in their late 30s also,” he said.
In a situation like the rift between Virat Kohli and Anil Kumble, who should have the final say? Captain or the coach?
It's a tricky one. It's important for the captain and the coach to have a good relationship. It's going to be hard for the team to move forward and work well together if there is some grumbling. I think Anil did the honourable thing by standing aside. If that relationship wasn't strong and wasn't going to help take the team forward then the decision he made to move away was right. By doing so, he obviously saw that Virat was a fantastic player, captain and needed to lead the team forward in future. So, I thought Anil did it for the team.
India have performed well since Virat Kohli took over as captain. But do you think bigger challenges await him when India tours South Africa, England and Australia?
I have always enjoyed Kohli's captaincy. He is doing a great job. He has got this great will to win. I can see parallels of Ricky Ponting in Kohli's leadership. Since Ponting was always hungry for success, he would keep pushing his team. He set very high standards in training and was very competitive. MS Dhoni was a wonderful captain and it was always going to be a challenge for Virat to fill Dhoni's big shoes. But the good thing about Virat is he didn't want to follow Dhoni's methods. He has been his own man and led the side in his own way. He has been true to his own personality. I believe that a captain is as good as his team. And Virat has got some excellent players in his side. India have been through the period of transition where the legends like Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid and VVS Laxman retired and the younger lot came in. But now, the team is a settled unit and is hungry for success.
These are exciting times for Indian cricket. Obviously, there will be challenges along the way and not only the captain but the players will also be tested.
Australia would be touring India soon for a limited-overs series. What would be the key for Australia to perform well here?
It's always tough playing India at home. I know the current team is highly motivated to win a series in India, which is a frontier that we haven't really done well.
Obviously the Ashes series and World Cups are prestigious for us, but winning in India is a huge goal for the Australian team. A lot of Australian players are getting some great exposure to Indian conditions.