Former Indian captain MS Dhoni has earned respect not only from his countrymen but also the oppositions, who claims to consider their honour to play against him. Such was MS Dhoni’s aura that he used to sweep the opposition’s feet through his composure and unconventional gameplay. Former English spinner Monty Panesar has talked about his battles with the 39-year old.
In his 50-Test career from 2006 to 2013, Monty Panesar played in four-Test series against India, including debuting against them. Monty Panesar was significant in England’s Test series victory in 2012, which was their first in India since 1983 and was also the last that they lost on home soil. The 38-year-old heaped praises on the keeper-batsman’s calmness, especially game awareness, and perfectly judging non-verbal communication.
Monty Panesar highlighted MS Dhoni’s composure and hailed him as the greatest reader of the situation and acted accordingly.
The left-arm spinner added that while Dhoni would not reply with words, one has to remain alert when he comes out to bat or set the fields.
“Dhoni was a calm guy. He wouldn’t say much. I think he was a great judge of non-verbal communication. He was just a great reader of things. You go and say something, he won’t reply but be ready when he will come to bat or set a field for you,” Panesar told Times of India in a exclusive interview.
I heard everything, but I also acted like MS Dhoni, as if I didn’t hear anything: Monty Panesar
The Bedfordshire-born recollected his tips to bowlers that he used to yell in Hindi, all of which Monty claims to understand but acted as if he did not. Monty revealed that he could converse in Hindi and Punjabi to an incredible extent and the keeper-batsman thought that the Englishman did not.
“I remember his tips to the bowlers, especially spinners from behind the stumps. Abhi thodi wide ball daalo. Abhi thoda seedha stumps pe rakho. Ye cross line khelne waala hai, seedha daalo.
“Ye deep mid-wicket pe chakka marega, thoda wide rakhna. (Bowl a little wide now. Now bowl straight on the stumps. He is going to play across the line, so bowl straight. He will try for a six over mid-wicket, so bowl a little wide).
“I can speak Hindi and Punjabi to a great extent. MSD thought I didn’t understand. I heard everything, but I also acted like MSD, as if I didn’t hear anything. I heard and (then) acted as if I didn’t hear anything. But I knew everything,” the veteran asserted.
Panesar stated that Dhoni gave such instructions to the bowlers and managed to get wickets too and feels proud to have played against him. The Jharkhand-cricketer retired as one of India’s most successful captains and greatest match-winners, playing 90 Tests, 350 ODIs, and 98 T20Is.
“And believe me, he has done this a number of times and got wickets. And that’s what I love about MS Dhoni and I am proud to have played against him,” he added.