MS Dhoni, India’s limited-overs captain, believes that with a slew of power-hitters and all-rounders in the ranks, West Indies have the ideal template for the shortest format of the game. The 35-year-old wicket-keeper-batsman also reckoned that it would be a challenge for India to overcome the explosive Caribbean side in the two-match Twenty20 International (T20I) series, starting on Saturday (August 27).
“West Indies is an extraordinary team in the limited-overs format,” Dhoni told reporters on the eve of the first T20I. “Sometimes having one all-rounder can give you balance. They have two or three. Power-hitters become crucial in the smaller formats, and they have so many of them. They also play an entertaining brand of cricket, so it will be a challenge for us.”
Dhoni took over the mantle of captaining the Indian Test side from Anil Kumble in 2008. Fast forward to 2016, Dhoni and Kumble will again join forces after the former leg-spinner was appointed as the coach of the Indian set-up in June this year. Dhoni acknowledged that playing under Kumble helped him to gain valuable insights about the game and he is eagerly looking forward to working with him again.
“He is a straightforward guy who will tell you what he has to on your face,” Dhoni said. “I learnt a lot from him while playing with him. One of the things that struck me was how he planned dismissals and went about his game. I was amazed at his consistency and the thinking aspect he brought to the game. It will also help him as a coach because you can’t have the same plan across different formats.
“I feel, the more time I spend with him, the more I’ll get to know him. I’ve known him as a player. Now, I will know him as a coach. We’ve seen previously how people are slightly different in both cases. He’s calm, composed and confident, and that will only help the team,” he added.
Dhoni retired from Test cricket in 2014, but he is still the incumbent captain for the abridged versions of the game. His Test retirement has helped him to take timely breaks, with his last international assignment before this series being the tour of Zimbabwe. After having gone through the rigours and the grind of playing top-flight cricket for more than a decade, Dhoni said that the short break has provided him with the opportunity to rejuvenate himself and maintain his fitness levels. He also added it will help him in the long term to prolong his career.
“When you have a break, it’s easy to maintain fitness because there’s enough preparation time,” Dhoni pointed out. “There has been a lot of rain in India, which is a good thing since we needed that. So I trained indoors with the bowling machine when it came to the skill aspect.”
“During a packed season, maintaining fitness becomes tough because you can’t put too much effort into it. You’re constantly monitoring workloads. When you have a break, you can plan your schedules. That’s what I’ve done so that it helps prolong my career. Overall, it’s important to relish the in-between time,” he concluded.