Former Australia batsman Michael Hussey has put his weight behind MS Dhoni despite recent criticism over the veteran’s slow outings in England. Hussey has said he “wouldn’t be reading too much” into Dhoni’s poor innings in England.
“It’s just two innings, come on! We know how MS plays – he takes some time in the middle,” Hussey was quoted as saying by Times of India. “He has got the power to catch up in the end. He plays according to the situation. I wouldn’t be reading too much into it. He has been a great player for such a long time and his experience will play a crucial role in the upcoming World Cup, especially, his ‘keeping skills and his power at the end of the innings. You should never write off a champion player.”
Dhoni scored 37 and 42 runs in his two ODIs against England but more frustratingly for the fans, it came at a strike rate of 62.71 and 63.63 with India going on to lose both the matches and the series 2-1. Some fans in attendance booed Dhoni for his slow innings.
Hussey and Dhoni had shared the dressing room with IPL side Chennai Super Kings first as teammates before the Aussie took up the batting coach responsibility.
Shifting focus to a Dhoni-less Test series between India and England, which begins on Wednesday, Hussey reckons the heatwave could take the advantage away from the hosts. “I am really interested to see how it goes, especially because it is being played at the back end of the season and it has been a warm summer in England,” said Hussey. “The pitches might actually aid spin, which will definitely bring India into the game a bit.”
With Kuldeep Yadav brought into the squad to add to the regulars R Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja, the question remains who should India play if they have to reduce from the three options. “Ashwin has been an amazing Test player for a long time. If Ashwin is not fit, Kuldeep could get a game and I am sure he will do well,” he said. “He is a talented young player. But, at the same time, Ashwin should be the first preference as he has earned that spot over a long period of time. There is a plenty of time for Kuldeep to come in.”
Much of the focus will also be on how skipper Virat Kohli fares after a dismal showing in 2014 where he managed just 134 runs in five Tests. “It will be interesting to see how Virat plays,” said Hussey. “I am sure he will score many runs. Once he gets his confidence up, it is going to be hard to stop him. There has been plenty of talk about his performance in England.”