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Dhoni reminds Kirsten of Cronje

Indian coach Gary Kirsten feels MS Dhoni's ability to extract the best out of his players is similar to that of late South African captain Hansie Cronje.

cricket Updated: Mar 30, 2008 11:59 IST

Indian coach Gary Kirsten has likened the country's ODI captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni's ability to extract the most out of his players to that of late Hansie Cronje, under whom the former South African opener had played in international cricket.

Kirsten felt Anil Kumble, the Bangalore stalwart who leads India in Tests commanded great respect from his team, but the swashbuckling wicketkeeper-batsman from Ranchi was more charismatic as he could get the best out of his team.

"Anil Kumble commands great respect from his team. He is a performer of note and has done it for many, many years. He is a tremendous person and brings in his personal qualities to the job", Kirsten has told cricket portal www.Cricnirvana.Com in an interview.

"Someone like Dhoni is more charismatic. He just backs himself and completely believes in his ability. He has got an unbelievable knack of getting the players under him to feel the same. He has the ability to get the best out of his players. That's a great quality, which I was fortunate to have under Hansie Cronje," Kirsten said.

Kirsten said that after his recent interaction with Sachin Tendulkar, against whom he had played a lot of cricket, he felt that the champion batsman was enjoying his game more than ever before and also perhaps eyeing a half century of three-figure knocks in Test cricket (Presently he has 39 to his credit).

"I asked him (Tendulkar) about the whole retirement thing. He is eyeing, may be, 50 Test 100s. It's a long way to go for him, 11 more to go. It could take him 11 Tests or 25-30 Tests to achieve that - who knows. But the important thing is that he is enjoying his game now, more than ever and wants to keep playing," the Indian coach said.

On his experience of working with the master batman, Kirsten said Tendulkar was an exceptional player still willing to learn and improve his game like any other champion of the sport.

"We know Sachin is an exceptional player. I remember playing much cricket against him. It was quite enjoyable watching him bat, even when we were trying to get him out. There is nothing much you can do about his game technically. He is very clever about his game and understands it well. It will be a real privilege to work with a great player like him," he said.

"But like any other champion of the sport, he is still willing to learn and improve his game. I haven't seen an individual who really wants to perform every time he walks onto the field and let's not forget the expectations he carries on his shoulders. He is a very humble man who respects the game. He is a fantastic team man," Kirsten added.