Michael Hussey and MS Dhoni
Michael Hussey and MS Dhoni: CSK

Former Australian cricketer and popularly known as ‘Mr. Cricket’ Michael Hussey is associated with the Indian Premier League (IPL) franchise team Chennai Super Kings (CSK) for a long time.

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Hussey, who played for CSK, later became the team’s batting coach. During the batting coach’s tenure, Michael Hussey narrated an anecdote about CSK captain MS Dhoni, which hardly anyone knows. Dhoni once ignored his advice about facing Rashid Khan’s balls.

The night before the qualifying final against Sunrisers Hyderabad, he (the analyst) sent me this split-screen of Rashid Khan,” Hussey said on the Lessons Learnt with the Greats podcast.

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“When he (Rashid) runs into bowl, when he bowls his leg-spinner, he holds his finger wide as he’s running in, and when he bowls a wrong ‘un, (he bowls) with fingers like this. And I thought – ‘Woah, this is good, but I am not sure if I should be throwing this out to the batsmen the night before this massive qualifying final’. So, I am sitting on this information, and I am going back and forth – ‘Should I, should I not, would I want it’.

“And I said to myself – If we play this game tomorrow and lose, and Rashid Khan goes really well. And I have sat on this info and I haven’t sent it out, I am not going to forgive myself. So, I decided to send it out to all the batsmen. But I did make sure I wrote: ‘You may want to use this, you may not. It is just here for your information. If you want anything, go for it, if not.

“Some of the guys loved it. Faf (du Plessis) loves this kind of stuff – he wants to know how many slower balls Bhuvneshwar Kumar’s going to bowl in the first six overs. He wants to know all the different grips and everything. But there are other players who probably don’t want to use it. Anyway, I sent it out to all batsmen,” he said.

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MS Dhoni got angry and said “I’ll bat my own way”: Hussey

MS Dhoni and Michael Hussey
MS Dhoni and Michael Hussey: IPL/BCCI

During the match, CSK was struggling at 24/3 when Dhoni came to bat. Dhoni had a hard time playing Rashid Khan and got bowled after scoring just 9 runs off 18 balls. After coming to the dugout Dhoni got angry. Hussy continued,

“MS, you didn’t really hear a reply (from), which is generally normal. We come to the game, we’re playing it and we’re in big trouble and MS is in the middle, and while he’s in the middle, we’re still thinking there’s a chance to win this game.”

“Rashid Khan comes on to bowl, one of the very first balls he (Dhoni) faces, goes for the big cover drive – wrong ‘un, bowled through the gate. And I’m thinking ‘Uh, gosh. Okay, no worries. And MS walks straight off the field, and I am sitting in the dugout and he walks straight up to me and says ‘I’ll bat my own way, thanks,’ and sits back down,” Hussey added.

“As a coach, I thought my days are over forever! But, to MS’s credit, after the game, he was absolutely fantastic. He came up and spoke to me and we had a good chat. He said that the information was correct. But for him, he needed time to go away and process it and practice it.”

“What he did in the game was, he thought he saw it was going to be a leg-spinner, played a shot, didn’t bother watching the bowl, and obviously he was done through the gate with the wrong ‘un. He said ‘If I had got time in the nets, have a look at the hand as he was running in to bowl, then still watch the ball then I would have time to build it into the routine. And it would have been very beneficial.”

However, CSK still won the match after Faf du Plessis’s unbeaten 67 runs inning.


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