MS Dhoni has relinquished the captaincy to Virat Kohli for a while now, but the veteran skipper’s decision making and ability to stay calm in pressure situations still stands out, even if his powers with the bat have waned.
Dhoni’s effective captaincy may not be on show in international cricket, but every year in the IPL he’s the one calling the shots from behind the stumps for Chennai Super Kings, among the most successful teams in T20 cricket.
And such has been his impact as leader of the pack that former rival Michael Vaughan had no hesitation in picking Dhoni as the “best white-ball captain he has ever seen”.
“Eoin Morgan was a revelation in 50-over cricket. MS Dhoni doesn’t do international captaincy anymore but in our era, Dhoni is the best white-ball captain I have seen. The way he manoeuvres from behind the stump, just reads play, thinks out of the box, handles the pressure card and is also great with the bat. In Tests, Virat Kohli is busy, energetic, a brilliant batsman, full of life. I like the way he captains” Vaughan told Times of India.
“It goes beyond the actual tactical side of the pitch. You need to have a strong cricketing brain and a strong idea of how to manage people. It is also the way you portray yourself in the public, how you handle the media, the messages you send, the structure and goal that you set for the team. Good captains give their team a vision of what they want to achieve over the course of the next few months and years.”
The former England captain also touched the inimitable characters that are Ben Stokes and Steve Smith, and believes that both have come back from some of their toughest days and that lesson is that mistakes happen but have to move on.
“Ben has shown he can hold his head up high, in terms of the way he has reacted and returned to the side. He works harder than anybody and in the dressing room he is very positive, driven. He wants to be the one person that makes the difference.”
While Stokes was crucial for England all summer, including winning the World Cup at Lord’s against New Zealand in the final, Vaughan believes Steve Smith is the best Test cricketer he’s ever seen.
“He is the best Test match player I’ve seen. I’ve seen all the all the greats of this era and the past. I think Steve Smith has something unique and different. When you think he started in Test cricket in 2010/11 as a No.7 who bowls leg-spin, it is again a lesson for everyone that if you work hard, dedicate your life to one subject – his subject is batting – you can do extraordinary things.”