MS Dhoni may have retired from Test cricket, but he is still thinking about the dressing room. It is only a matter of time before Dhoni ceases to be an integral part of the dressing room, with some even predicting that the 2015 World Cup could be his last assignment. If his close friends are to be believed, the World Cup could be his last appearance as an international cricketer.
But what is concerning him is the culture of the dressing room, which he has carefully created with Gary Kirsten. It is almost a foregone conclusion that Duncan Fletcher’s time in the dressing room is ticking. Fletcher’s contract with the BCCI expires after the World Cup. Having lost the series in Australia, Fletcher’s only brief remaining is to do well in the World Cup. And, that means winning the Cup.
In the meantime, Dhoni has floated the name of Michael Hussey for the position Fletcher has assumed. In a carefully calibrated way, Dhoni’s intent and communication about Hussey has reached the top BCCI boss, and nobody else is privy to this.
The reason for backing Hussey is believed to be Dhoni’s proximity to the Australian cricketer who also represented the Chennai Super Kings in the IPL. Dhoni sees a brilliant thinker and man manager in Hussey who can bring calmness and camaraderie to the dressing room like Kirsten.
Besides being a non-confrontational character, Hussey has been the brain behind Murali Vijay’s success in Australia --- Vijay apparently overcame the challenges of playing in Australia with Hussey’s help. The best part about Hussey is that he is a contemporary cricketer and his thinking is modern. Besides, his work ethic is something that Kirsten had once cited while lashing out at India players in the West Indies after the team had crashed out of the World T20 Championship.
It is a known fact that the team has not been able to get over the fact that Kirsten is not around, with India players still talking about the time spent under the South African.
But, given that the BCCI is going through a tumultuous phase, Dhoni’s suggestion will have to wait. Also, the board usually consults former cricketers, especially Sunil Gavaskar and Ravi Shastri, when it comes to assessing candidates for the coach’s job.
The only thing that might go against Hussey is his nationality. The BCCI and the Indian team’s bad experience with Greg Chappell could come in the way of Hussey being roped in.
Nevertheless, the power balance and the decision making in the BCCI rests with one individual who, for every reason, might subscribe to the suggestion on Hussey, which might not be a bad idea after all.