Dhoni, Dhoni...Mahi fever grips Australia, WATCH VIDEO
New Delhi, Jan 11: No, it is not Virat Kohli. It is Mahendra Singh Dhoni who is making waves in Sydney before the start of ODI series. The former indian skipper is surrounded by fans during the practice session, chants of Dhoni-Dhoni are common when Mahi steps out. Â
Though out of form, the 37-year-old is still the crowd favourite. During the practice sessions, Dhoni took time out to meet and shake hands with fans who surrounded him. BCCI posted a video on the fan fury about Dhoni. In the video, Dhoni is seen signing few autographs and clicking photos with the fans at the Sydney Cricket Ground..
World Cup-winner Dhoni is part of Team India's 16-member squad for the ODI series. He is likely to be in action at the SCG (January 12), Adelaide Oval (January 15) and MCG (January 18).
It's not only fans, but Aussie skipper too is in awe of Mahai. "I think the way that he's led India under the most extreme cricket scrutiny for a long time has been unbelievable," Finch was quoted as saying. Finch added, "I think that he's obviously one of the all-time greats of the game. It will be a sad day if he doesn't come back to Australia after this tour, he's a brilliant entertainer and someone that people pay money to come through the gates to watch."
Meanwhile, despite Dhoni's indifferent form, Â India vice-captain Rohit Sharma has backed him to the hilt, saying he will play a pivotal role in the World Cup later this year.
Rohit said besides his finishing abilities, Dhoni's mere presence lends calmness to the team, especially youngsters, and that would be crucial in a big tournament like the World Cup, which starts May 30 in England.
"Over the years we have seen what sort of presence he (Dhoni) has in the dressing room and on the field. With him being around, there is a sense of calmness in the group, which is very important, and also a bit of help to the captain because he stands behind the stumps," Rohit said ahead of the first ODI against Australia on Saturday.
"He has captained India for so many years and been successful. So him being around with the team always is helpful. He is like a guiding light around the group," he said.
Dhoni's much-vaunted finishing skills are under scrutiny but Rohit said the former captain has it in him to continue being useful with the bat.
"...batting down the order, getting us through the line, his finishing touch is very important and he has finished so many games for us. His calmness and advice, what he thinks about the game and what we should do right now is very important.
"His presence around the group is a massive factor for us," said the 31-year-old right handed batsman.
Rohit said young bowlers like Yuzvendra Chahal and Kuldeep Yadav can benefit from Dhoni's presence behind the stumps.
"Chahal and Kuldeep are both doing really well so somebody like Dhoni standing behind the stumps and helping those guys about what the batsman is trying to do, it makes a huge difference I think.
"These guys started playing for India in 2017 and since then they have done really well in and outside India. And one of the reasons for that is MS and how he has guided these two guys in the middle about how to keep things tight and field placements.
"He has played a massive role ever since the time he has left captaincy," he added
News24 Bureau/ PTI