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MS Dhoni is a terrific leader: Brendon McCullum

Brendon McCullum
Brendon McCullum. (Photo by MARTY MELVILLE/AFP/Getty Images)

Former New Zealand captain, Brendon McCullum feels that MS Dhoni would do much better if he comes to bat up the order and can make a much more impact on the game. Saying that he was not surprised at the knock of 80 that Dhoni played coming at No. 4, “I am definitely not surprised. He is a terrific leader. I think now that he doesn’t play Tests and his focus is squarely on limited overs means he can have more impact in the game. That is why probably he has pushed himself up in the batting order. And he has delivered. That is what world class players do.”

Talking about the form Virat Kohli is in this year, he said that comparisons with Sachin Tendulkar is inevitable. “I think we should just enjoy the guy who is at the top of his game and is entertaining crowds all around the world. I think comparisons are so difficult in this game, there are different conditions, different eras, different circumstances but we should not fail in recognizing that we have got an incredibly good player who is operating on the world stage at the moment,” he went on to say.

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Speaking of the advantages of Dhoni coming higher up the order, he said that it would get two of India’s most experienced batsmen to play together, thus helping the cause of the team. In his words, “You have got two very experienced cricketers who are very calm under pressure and know to win games. Chasing scores is not easy and they understand the art of it. The other teams will hope that they don’t bat together too often but for India’s sake, you are enjoying the fact that two of your leaders are performing in pressure situations.”

Also read – MS Dhoni is one of all-time Dadas of the game: Ravi Shastri

McCullum, who announced his retirement earlier this year just before the World T20, still remains in shape and plays in various competitive leagues around the globe. He is already looking forward to next IPL, having recovered from a back surgery.

McCullum, who is here on a 4-day visit to India with Prime Minister John Key, was seen imparting his Rugby knowledge to kids at Delhi Rebels Rugby Club, he said, “It is definitely one of the challenges (to remain fit after international retirement) but you can overcome it if you stay physically fit, strong and motivated. I am still very much motivated. I am 35 years of age, I think I have still got three-four years of competitive cricket left and hopefully, I can perform.”

Speaking about New Zealand’s performance in India, he said it is a young team that is still learning. “Look India is always a tough place to tour. It is incredibly difficult here, the conditions are so different to what we have back home. I think the guys will take a lot of learning out of this tour. I am sure in time we will see the benefits of how tough this tour has been for the boys,” he said.

Having a lot of experience of playing in India and also scoring a lot of runs here, he said that success here depends on how quick one adapts to the conditions here. “It is just the nature of touring India. What we are brought up on, the wickets and the conditions, are so different from what you get here. So it is a matter of trying to adapt as quickly as possible. I think some of the guys did that, especially Latham (Tom). I think he has been outstanding throughout the tour in a really tough position (opening).

“Kane (Williamson) also got some runs and he is required to score a lot more. In the end, you are not going to come over here and have instant success. As long as you are taking the learnings out of this experience, and continue to develop your game when you leave these shores, I think that is really important for a young team,” he said

Also read – Commentator’s panel chooses its current World Test XI

Talking of Kane Williamson’s captaincy, he said that he is a good captain, but the times are rough, and that Kane shouldn’t be judged on these performances and be given some time to settle in. “I think Kane is going to be an incredible leader. At such a young age, he is already very mature. He is a world class player. I think the team is just finding itself in tough circumstances and you just have have to be careful that we don’t judge them too harshly on this tour because it is a tough place to come to. I am sure over the coming months, the leadership which is in place will stand up in their own conditions,” he said.

Quizzed about Ross Taylor’s failure to deliver, he did not blame his teammate, saying conditions are tough. “It is not for a lack of trying for all those guys. It is a tough place to tour. I know the guys are incredibly determined to perform over here”.

Talking about the positives that New Zealand can take from this series, he said, “Latham’s batting has been a huge positive. Luke Ronchi is a big positive, I thought the bowling group stuck to their tasks really well too. Again early stage for spinners Ish Sodhi and Mitchell Santner but I thought they performed really as well. I think the other thing is that India are the number one Test team in the world. It is not easy come over here and compete against them.”

Also read – I’d want to master the art of picking five-wicket hauls: Ravichandran Ashwin

Commenting on the future of Cricket, especially the longer format of the game, he said that all the three formats can co-exist. Having led New Zealand in a day-night test match for the first time, against Australia last year, he said, “I was skeptical about its existence at the outset when we played the debut match. But I think if you look at the success of that and the last couple of games, we have seen exciting finishes. As long as you get the pitches right for the different ball (pink ball), after all day night cricket is about the ball which is meant to allow you to play cricket in the night. As long as we have that, it is an outstanding acquisition for the cricketing fraternity.”

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