India January 11(IM): Australia's cricket stars are in awe of MS Dhoni who is gearing up to play the three-ODI series starting January 12 at the Sydney Cricket Ground. Dhoni first played an ODI in Australia back in 2008 and has scored 860 runs off 32 matches in the country since.
Dhoni has played 48 ODIs against Australia and has scored 1355 runs including two hundreds.
MS Dhoni, on his very first tour of Australia 11 years ago, had led India to victory in the CB Series. After qualifying for the finals of the tri-series, India defeated Australia 2-0.
Back in 2016, Dhoni had overseen a 1-4 defeat in the five-match ODI series before blanking Australia 3-0 in the T20I series. Known for his cool on and off the field, Dhoni has many admirers around the cricket world.
Usman Khawaja, the Australian middle-order batsman, said he had plenty on common with the way MS Dhoni plays his cricket
"He's obviously a legend of a cricketer but he's such a good bloke and so relaxed," Khawaja told cricket.com.au.
"I love playing cricket with him and on the same team because I think we're quite similar in the way we play.
"He concentrates on the controllable, doesn't worry about the rest, doesn't let a lot faze him, understands there's a lot of up and downs in cricket and I think he's experienced that throughout his career and the way he plays and the way he goes about it."
Dhoni a great ambassador for cricket: Cummins
Australia pacer Pat Cummins lauded MS Dhoni for his ability to stay calm and balanced despite all his successes as a leader.
"I think my main memory of Dhoni is just his persona on the field," Cummins said.
"You've seen him winning IPL tournaments, World Cups, Test matches, incredible victories, and he just picks up the stump and walks off (like) nothing happened.
"Winning games from impossible positions and he just seems like the most level, calm captain when he's captaining, just play, nothing seems too big a deal, and just can pull things out of his hat like no one else.
"He's a great ambassador for cricket, being an idol to a billion Indian people back home and he's hugely respected around the world."
Australia's Test captain Tim Paine, who got into several verbal wars with Virat Kohli and Rishabh Pant during the recently concluded four-Test series, said MS Dhoni is one of the best wicketkeeper-batsmen in the history of the game.
"I think he is one of the best wicketkeeper-batsmen to ever play the game," Australia Test skipper and fellow wicketkeeper Tim Paine told cricket.com.au. "He is right up there, no doubt about that, particularly in white-ball cricket.
"Hopefully he doesn't get too many runs but it's certainly going to be nice to have him here for a little bit. I'm happy I won't be out there against him."
MS Dhoni is only one of three cricketers to have captained in 200 ODIs. Dhoni remains India's most successful ODI captain with 110 wins from 200 matches - overall, he has captained India in 332 internationals across the three formats.
MS Dhoni's experience will be key for India even though his recent form has been disappointing. India vice-captain Rohit Sharma said Dhoni is the guiding light for the team.
Tim Paine in awe of Dhoni's ability to keep things simple
Paine said the best thing about Dhoni was that he kept things simple.
"What I do love about watching him play, whether he is batting or keeping and captaining, he keeps things very simple," Paine said.
"That's just from what I can see. Cricket is a very complicated game and I've enjoyed watching him really simplify it still in this modern age.
"He just looks like he does the basics pretty well, stays real relaxed and - at his age from the pressure he would be under in India and around the world - he looks like he just loves playing cricket," Paine said.