MS reads the game better than Ricky: Michael Hussey Explains Similarities, Differences Between Dhoni and Ponting
Under Ponting, Hussey spent seven years playing for Australia and won together three ICC tournaments – the 2007 World Cup and the 2006 and 2009 Champions TrophyUpdated: May 08, 2020 14:45 IST
Michael Hussey is one of the rare cricketers to have played under two of the finest captains in history – Ricky Pointing and MS Dhoni – and even though the two leaders have had a different career graph, playing and captaining in different eras, Hussey has examined them from close quarters.
Under Ponting, Hussey spent seven years playing for Australia and won together three ICC tournaments – the 2007 World Cup and the 2006 and 2009 Champions Trophy – whereas the former left-hander was a key performer for Chennai Super Kings during a major chunk of their success, which the team achieved under Dhoni, winning the IPL thrice and making the Playoff nine times.
So just how similar or different are Ponting and Dhoni? Hussey explains.
“Ricky is just so driven and so competitive in everything that he does,” Hussey told Raunak Kapoor in a chat on YouTube. “He can be playing table tennis in the team room or he can be playing a game of marbles and Ricky would want to win. You’ll do a fielding drill at training and he wants to lead. He wants to set the highest standard.
“If we had the worst nets in the world that we have to practice on, he will be the first one into the net and show that it’s okay. He really leads from the front and he certainly backs his players 100%. That’s probably where the similarity is with MS.”
Hussey shared the CSK dressing room with Dhoni from 2008 to 2013 and later again in 2015, and has been involved in many unforgettable partnerships with the former India captain. In fact, Hussey reckons Dhoni outdoes Ponting as far as some aspects of captaincy go.
“MS is a lot calmer. A lot more measured. And I would say he strategically reads the game slightly better than Ricky. Ricky was a good tactician as well. Fantastic, but the way MS makes some moves out there in the field, I’ll be sort of thinking “where’s he going with this?” Inevitably it might work. How did this come from? He just backs his gut feel. Two different captains but both very effective in their own ways,” added Hussey, who last month called Dhoni the greatest finisher of all time.
“I think one of the greatest strengths about MS, particularly in a place like India, is his great ability to take the pressure off players, particularly young Indian players. In India, you know what it’s like. It’s a religion over there. Everyone wants it so much, so badly. He just says it’s just a game, just go out there and play. Enjoy. Some days you win, some days you lose. It’s not the be-all-end-all. That’s quite rare I think for a captain, particularly in India.”