Former Australia captain George Bailey, in a video posted on Cricket Australia, revealed how former Indian captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni broke barriers with young cricketers. Paying tributes to the 2011 World Cup-winning captain, Bailey said that Dhoni used to set up hookah in his room and allowed everyone to hang out and have a chat about different facets of the game.
“He likes smoking a bit of the sheesha or the hookah. So, he quite often would set that up in his room, and it was very much open door policy. You would go in and quite often find a lot of younger players there. For India or lot of other cricket teams, it can be hierarchical, but he certainly broke that down. You just find yourself in his room late at night chatting inevitably about the game or different facets of the game with different people. It’s a great way to break down barriers,” the 36-year-old revealed.
The right-hand batsman further went to talk about how the wicketkeeper-batsman would often introduce new bowling plans on the field which would inspire bowlers. “He can really panic some bowlers, it’s quite funny going into some bowling meetings because he would never come to them. The bowlers would spend their time looking at wagon wheels and preparing how are they gonna bowl to the batsman and they walk out to the field and have the bowl in their hand and MS would just point in a completely different direction. You can see a few of the bowlers’ eyes start to spin,” the Australian cricketer said.
“He has such confidence, such a steely determination and belief that he inspires the bulk of the bowlers to do the right thing,” Bailey added.
The batsman also praised Dhoni for his calmness on the field and that he instils a similar mindset in the team. “He is just a picture of calmness and serenity. It’s pretty amazing. I am in an aura of nearly all the Indian players, the pressure they play under in, the scrutiny they face. But MS, if he does feel pressure, I have never seen him. And I have seen him walk to the wicket with games all but impossible to win. But he never belies that and finds a way to get you home,” he said.
“The greatest thing I took from MS was just the ability of him to impact the calmness of the team with his calmness. With the chaos, and whatever is happening in the game numerous times, you see him being so calm behind the wickets. With the bat in his hand, you can certainly feel he’s got a plan and he’s got something covered here and it’s gonna be okay,” Bailey signed off.