Australian coach Justin Langer paid tribute to Mahendra Singh Dhoni as a superstar and an all-time great of the game after the veteran wicketkeeper-batsman produced a master class run-chase in India’s ODI series clinching win.
Langer was amazed by Dhoni’s fitness at the age of 37 and said that playing against him has been a rich learning experience for his young side.
“He (Dhoni) is 37 years old. His running between the wickets is elite, and his fitness is elite. For him to run between the wickets for three days in a row, it was 40 degrees the other day, and play like that, he is a superstar of the game and that’s what Australians should be aspiring to be — superstars of the game,” Langer said at the post-match press conference.
“MS Dhoni, like Virat Kohli, like Cheteshwar Pujara in the Test series, they give us really great role models. MS Dhoni, his record, everything speaks for itself as a captain, batsman, wicketkeeper. He is literally an all-time great of the game and it has been, as hard as it is to lose, a privilege to play against those guys.”
Dhoni was dropped twice — when on 0 and 74 — and Langer said that cost his side the match. He also said that Dhoni gave his young side a batting tutorial on how to go about in such a run chase.
“You drop MS Dhoni a couple of times and you don’t win. You don’t give great players chances. We did that tonight. We get down the 49th over and MS is there again. It was a great lesson for our squad. We talk about match winners, getting the job done — he showed us again. It is a great tutorial for our batters,” he added.
“If M S Dhoni can come out and run between wickets like that after keeping wickets for 50 overs, that is the level the whole world should be aspiring to. I would be amazed if they (Australian players) don’t learn from playing against those guys. For a young squad, there is no better lesson and learning to rub shoulders with great players. I’m glad we have had the experience,” he said.
Dhoni copped a lot of criticism from all quarters for his slow strike-rate at the start of the series, but has sounded back with three half-centuries in three matches to be adjudged Man of the Series.