Melbourne: Australians are once again trying to do something that they are good at, that's playing mind games to divide and confuse opposition. Hammered by Kohli army recently, the Aussies are trying to attack Virat Kohli using MS Dhoni just before the Champions Trophy.
Now, former Australian captain Ricky Ponting has warned against writing off Dhoni as a major force in international cricket. Ponting said that Dhoni has a major role to play in the Champions Trophy, which starts from June 2 in England and Wales.
Dhoni's performance in the ongoing IPL have not been noteworthy, and has been criticised. He has just managed one 50 in 8 matches.
But Ponting believes the former Indian skipper will bounce back, and has a big role if india has to do well in the Champions Trophy.
"I think it's a downside of having the great success that he's had over a long period of time. I've been there myself and when you start to slide just a little bit, criticism is going to come your way. And to be fair, he probably hasn't had much negativity come his way over the past 15 or 20 years. So it'll be really interesting to see how he handles that over the coming weeks,” cricket.com.au quoted Ponting as saying.
"Things can turn around in this game pretty quickly and one thing I've learned in this game with champion players is to never write them off. They always find a way to keep coming back. He’ll find a way and he'll win games for his team,” Ponting added.
India is yet to announce team for Champions Trophy, but Ponting feels that India needs experience of Dhoni in English conditions. "I think he can be an important player in that Indian team, especially with his experience. Batting in the middle order, he's someone who can really control a one-day innings. And that might be what you need in England,” Ponting said.
Ponting also questioned wisdom of Rising Pune Supergiants to replace Dhoni with Steve Smith as captain. "If you think about Dhoni and his age, this might well be his last IPL. There's no basis to me saying that. It just seemed like a strange time to move him on as captain if he wasn't coming towards the end. Obviously they've made a decision that they think is right for that team and Steve Smith taking over was what the hierarchy and the coaching staff thought was the right thing to do,” he said.
"I'm pretty sure he's got quite a thick skin. He's grown up with unbelievable pressure on him as captain of India for a long time. He's had some great moments in his career and right now he's probably not playing at his absolute best, but it's still there. I'm not ever going to tell anyone when it's time to go or retire. That's up to the champions to make their own mind up,” Ponting added.